Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I Dream The Imaginary Dream

Some more fun topics for Mama Kat's Writer's Challenge this week!

1.) What does marriage mean to you? (inspired by Jon Gosselin) :)

This is a timely topic for me since we celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary on Sunday. So even though I may not be able to supply the perfect definition of marriage, I at least get to enjoy experiencing one!

Marriage is many things. It is a partnership through life, not just the good times but the bad times too. It is having a friend that knows you and your deepest darkest secrets and still wants to spend time with you and the converse. It is having someone you are still attracted to long after the bloom of youth has started to fade, and the attraction is not simply physical or purely mental.

It was once explained to me that (and I believe it to be a good explanation) there are a finite but not necessarily small number of people you can love and who can love you on the journey through life. The one you marry is the one you *are* in love with when you get the urge to be married. But, and it is a big but, from that point on it is part of each partner's duty to the marriage to stay in love and grow closer together. I think the crucial point is that both people have joined in a partnership and are dedicated to working together to advance that partnership.

Does that mean that marriage never has its travails? Of course not!

I can remember a time nearly thirty years ago when L and I sought out a marriage counselor since we did not seem to be able to grow closer together. The major problem was the clashing world views of a rationalist and a humanist. Add to that the job related stresses and living half a continent away from each other for a period of time and you can see that some work was timely in order. Going to counseling helped us to be able to see the world from the other's point of view, and thus allowed us to continue growing as a couple without the festering of perceived slights. Heck, we still remind ourselves of the lessons we learned then even today

2.) Scaredy Cat!!! (inspired by Brandi from Not Your Average Soccer Mom)

There are few things that can still provoke the all out fear reflex in me. I suspect part of that is reaching an age where the boogie men can catch me if they really want to and there is little I can do about it if they are big and strong enough.  That said ...

I have reached the age where I don't quite have tinnitus yet, but I hear things. When I go to bed at night and it is very quiet, my mind and ears seem to amplify every ambient noise and creak to the point that i am convinced someone is in the room with me or is creeping down the hallway.

Now add to that an overactive mind that creates patterns even when there is no pattern to be discerned and you have some interesting nights. Especially in the winter when the rushing sound of the furnace pushing air through the heating vents acts like a white noise mask and I hear voices. Objectively I know there is no voice talking, but my mind and ears reconstruct it as a voice talking just below the level of audibility. I've been known to get up several times in a night "just to be sure" that there is no one talking down the hallway. For a while I seriously considered the idea that the furnace duct work was picking up a local talk radio station. Add to this the fact that for a number of years I was on 24 hour call and trained myself so I could answer the phone, solve the problem, and not wake up, and you get some really strange moments.

I suspect that is why God inflicted men with enlarging prostates as they age so that they have to arise every few hours in the night. That keeps them from going insane hearing things that aren't there. {*grin*}

3.) List the pieces of you that have come from those around you? (inspired via Tweet by Angela from My So-Called Chaos)

Where should I start?

I have the small round sunken eyes of one of my maternal grandfathers side of the family, otherwise know as the Pyle pig eyes. I have the Dumbo sized ears of both sides of the family. And from my father's side of the family I got that classic Jones build: a beer barrel perched on short stilts with gorilla arms and a neckless bowling ball head. Thus I can blame my huge paws and head on that side of the family.

Now there are some pieces that I have no clue about too. Where did my giant clod-hoppers come from? No one else wears size 16's. No one knows.

And, of course, one would be remiss not to mention the diabetes from dad's side of the family. Dad had 5 brothers and sisters; all of them that didn't die young were/are diabetics. Likewise his mother. What more could one ask for in a family tree?

But I also got a keen curiosity about the world and very high IQ from both sides of the family. My grandfather was an inveterate inventor who taught himself electronics via correspondence school and my dad was amazing at math (which is all the more amazing considering that dad never graduated from high school). My mom was the first in her family to graduate from a community college and I was the first to get a graduate degree. So one gets the good along with the bad. Something to keep in mind the next time you carp about your inheritance!

4.) The first day of... (inspired by Mama Kat. again.)

The first day of snow is not far in the future. The nights are getting cooler and the days shorter. All clues that whisper to me that one of these days it is going to freeze. I keep hoping that it will delay until mid October, but mom and others are betting on a much sooner date. And anytime after that first freezing day, it might snow. Some years the first day of snow comes before the trees have shed their leaves and other years it delays until December or January.

I love that first day of snow. The joy of shoveling, that feeling of comfortable exertion and warmth. The pleased feeling of being able to set aside a few hours and curl up with a good book and a cup of soup. The unbridled joy of all the bugs dying off - no more insecticide needed to work in the underbrush. The smell of wood smoke in the air. The way that falling snow dampens all the sounds of the world, making it so serene and peaceful to be out walking. When I was in college, I used to go to a tower by the observatory and sit in the open top and watch the snow plows miles and miles away down in the valley as they battled to keep roads clear. There is nothing like a late night hike in the snow when the wind is howling and the temperature is dropping - especially when you know that you can get warm and curl up with a good book when you get back home.

Here is one of my favorite winter scenes from many years ago when the Son was but a tyke. It was taken on our driveway during the kind of snow storm of my dreams.

5.) Transcribe a recent entertaining conversation you recently had with someone. (inspired by Mama Kat...I'm so inspirational for myself.)
Me: Dan speaking.
Caller: Is <Spanish mispronunciation of my name> there?
Me: This is Dan.
Caller: Is <Spanish mispronunciation of my name> there?
Me: Yes, this is he. (with at least a little hint of disgust)
Caller: No, I'm looking for <Spanish mispronunciation of my name>. Is he there?
Me: This is he!
Caller: Are you sure?
Me: Yes!!!
Caller: Never mind. (Hangup and dialtone)
I'm pretty sure that the Caller believed I wasn't me because I don't mispronounce my own name like he did. Oh well, I figure he was a trade rag magazine solicitor - probably from Puerto Rico given the accent and traceback number.


  1. I loved your thoughts on marriage - very beautiful.

    I also can't believe the weather there is going to change to freezing are your seasons Winter and Summer?

  2. I love your take on marriage! Very sweet. And congratulations on 34 years! WOW!

    It is going to snow soon? Oh my good heavens... that kind of made me sad!

  3. Reading your scaredy cat answer had me shaking my head yes. Those "someone is talking just out of hearing range" moments are interesting.
    The walk down the hallway with your head cocked as you try to find the source of the talking looks pretty goofy too.
    Been there.

  4. I always enjoy your stories. Occasionally I am convinced I hear a very low radio, too, but it is just the refrigerator or some other machinery humming. I especially liked your marriage story. Too bad most people don't seek counseling before they split up.

    I didn't write about marriage but if I did I might include Dave Barry's quote: "Most married couples, even though they love each other very much in theory, tend to view each other in practice as large teeming flaw colonies, the result being that they get on each other's nerves and regularly erupt into vicious emotional shouting matches over such issues as toaster settings." My hubby & I never get vicious and we rarely disagree on the important things. It's small stuff that drives us crazy. Most of the time we get along fabulously, but at times our worst behaviors sneak out of both of us at the same time.

    See my response to Mama Kat HERE.

    Carolina (aka CJ @ ProArtz)

  5. Very nice reflections on marriage. You honor the relationship with your thoughts. I also enjoyed reading about your anticipation for the first snow. It is truly a magical time. I love jumping in and playing with the kids. Great photo with your once "wee" son :)

  6. I love your prostate theory! LOL I think it's brave and honest of you to post that you went to marriage counseling. I'm so glad it worked and that you're all the better for it.

    Awwwww, your son looks happy all bundled up and out in the snow!


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