Category Archives: Relationships

Happy Anniversary Baby, I’ve Got You on My Mind

We’ve been celebrating our anniversary for a month, and it has been a great month.

This year we celebrate 35 years of marriage.

Yes, that is a long time.

And, if you must know, yes, we were young when we got married. Around 10 years old, I think—at least that is my story and I’m sticking with it.

But I digress.

We had thought of going to Hawaii, or some big trip to France or Italy, but frankly, making the time wasn’t working, and we’d rather not have that cash outlay right now. So, we decided to have some fun here.

We bought new phones, which we love. They are fast, sleek, have big screens and do lots of thing—and the cameras on them are very good, for snapshots and things you’d need day to day.  And we got small tablets for ourselves, which make it easy to read books, nicer than the phones for searching without dragging out the laptop. Who doesn’t like new toys?  So, even though we bought them a month before our actual anniversary, we counted these as “Anniversary gifts”.

Then we went on the mega work trip. And it was work—not a vacation at all.  We were up early to go to client sites to prep the rooms, ate the free breakfasts at inexpensive hotels (expensive hotels don’t offer free breakfast!) where we stayed, lived on weak conference coffee and when available, ate free dinners, which are usually carb heavy (Lasagna, Potatoes and gravy, rice) and lots of lettuce, with maybe some cheap wine offered for good measure.  However, free is free, and really, on the road unless we are going someplace really special, most of the time   we end up eating salad for dinner anyway.

But, we also took a day off and toured the Missions in San Antonio, TX one Saturday. And went to the Lodi Zinfest the next Saturday when we were in California. And it was great fun.  For us, both counted as anniversary celebrations.  We stopped for a couple of wine tastings when we finished our appointments. We had small plates one night and people watched from a sidewalk table. On our way home on a Saturday, when they announced the flight was overbooked, we scored free tickets for an upcoming flight simply for waiting in an airport for a few extra hours—and while we were there we shared a glass of wine and some pâté at an airport restaurant that we never would have found without the extra time.  We define all of this as part of the anniversary celebration.

Since our actual anniversary was a “school night” we defined the day before as the actual celebration day. We went to a new restaurant that had just opened a few blocks from our home and had appetizers and shared a glass of wine before going to a movie at a new theater. After the show, we bought macarons and took them home for dessert for the official anniversary dinner at home—where we had filets, baked potato, asparagus and a split of 1997 Opus One wine in our own dining room.

I guess it is hard to define a celebration when life is to be celebrated. We may not buy cards or flowers or balloons to punctuate every life event, but we do tend to have a good time wherever we happen to be. I think we succeed in making the commas in our life story enough fun that we don’t have to wait for exclamation points!

Flight of the Social Butterfly!

I might go for a month and stay home every night, and then, suddenly, I’m out every night.  That is what my last week has been like.  Philip’s cousin called that she was in town for a conference, so 6 of us got together and went to Oklahoma Joe’s for dinner before hitting the Country Club Plaza’s Starbucks for some late night cappuccinos for dessert.  This was before Oklahoma Joe’s was listed as the Number 1 Place for ribs in the USA by The Daily Meal–so it was a good choice to meet out of town guests.  We had a great time, then two days later we were invited to a Christening of a relatives baby girl, followed by brunch.  We went (of course–Brunch!) We visited with an assortment of in-laws and out-laws, drank Mimosas and commented on the general beauty of the baby.

The following Friday was First Fridays– our metro’s monthly art crawl. We usually try to go once or twice a year, but this time, which month to go was decided for us when one of our friends was invited to exhibit! It has been on our calendar for several months.  Then, when we got the invitation to another friend’s annual open house buffet supper that she hosts on the opening night of her neighborhood’s popular art fair– we decided we had to do both!

It was a perfect night for the art crawl–warm spring weather, no rain–just a great night to be outdoors—and the streets and galleries were packed with people. I wished I could stroll to the various galleries and shops, and people watch along the way.  But this time, we went straight to the gallery showing my friend’s work, (The party gods smiled on us and granted us a parking spot very nearby) admired her work, mingled and met up with old friends and acquaintances.  We stayed longer than we normally would at an exhibit, because we knew her and also knew so many of the people coming to the event, it was like a party itself.

We relinquished our fabulous parking spot to some other lucky soul and drove through town to the next party.  Since it is designed for people to stop by after going to the first night of this different art fair, it is an open house type affair.  We saw people we’d met before, made new acquaintances, ate sandwiches some of the best guacamole I’ve ever had and some outstanding chocolate cake. She always has some special treats for those of us who stay late, and this year it was a pomegranate- cranberry juice mix  on ice in large stemmed glasses that we sipped while the pianist and soloist finished the night with a final set filled with requests from the dwindling but appreciative audience.

I don’t often go to 4 separate parties from one Friday to Friday to the next, but it was a fun week!

A Good Time was Had by All

It was a nice evening, still too cool to spend much time outside, but the promise of spring was there. Our host made a perfect version of Julia Child’s Lamb Stew–and our hostess made a Buttermilk Lemon Panna Cotta. The wine flowed, the conversation carried the night, we got to know our hosts and the other couple they had invited better. After dinner there was coffee and conversation and friendly dogs wanting to be petted.

As much as I like to entertain, there is a different kind of pleasure in being the guest at a friend’s home. We go out so often with business associates–many of whom we are very friendly with–but there is a difference. No matter how friendly the relationship, when there is an ongoing business relationship in the mix there is always a bit of a shadow. I notice that when former clients have retired the relationship changes just a tiny bit, and becomes just slightly more comfortable.

Friends by choice instead of business colleagues just made for a more relaxing evening, and I can’t wait to try to make Panna Cotta at home!

My Funny Valentine

© Neil Mey | Dreamstime Stock Photos
© Neil Mey | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Valentine Evening and I’m at the office.  And so is Philip. And we are fine with that. We were invited to a corporate event last night and the wine flowed, the steaks were large and tender and the dessert was too rich to finish.  We had good conversation with business acquaintances we had met a time or two before, but we didn’t spend the evening talking business.  It was more like a nice, if large, dinner party than a corporate “thing”. So we’ve had our fun evening out for Valentine’s week.  

I am ready for the weekend!  I’d love to say I’d be relaxing or going out all weekend, but I suspect I’ll be working on a few things for that can’t wait at least part of the time. But that is OK. Sometimes when you work with a spouse, you get to mix business with pleasure.

And that is sort of the story of our life, lately… enjoy the treats that come with work (likely a fancier meal out last night than we’d have bought for Valentine’s on our own) and put in the hours when we need to work. Add a day or two at the end of a business trip, if we can, or if we can’t, just plan to return to the sites we don’t manage to see while on a work trip. Either way, this is our life, so we’d better enjoy it or change it so that we do!

Wedding Bells are Breaking up That Old Gang of Mine!

dreamstimefree_247942Which somehow surprises me.

I guess I wasn’t paying attention. I was less surprised when this happened after college, where everyone moved or married or married and moved and all summer there seemed to be wedding after wedding. But I’ve gone to two going away parties in the last 3 weeks for friends of mine who had been single for years and who are now packing all or part of their stuff and heading off into the sunset with a new mate.

One had been living with her fiancé for a while, and they just finally decided to make the move—so they sold their house and moved to Florida. Another had been thinking about retiring for a while, but just in the last month retired from her job, married a man she had become re-acquainted with over the last year and is keeping her place here but living with her new husband part-time in California. They are all happy and excited and looking forward to the future.

To which I say “YAY!”

I guess retirement is sort of like graduation—people are free from a commitment or constraint and they scatter to the wind, ready to try something and someplace new!

In a way, it is fun because when I’m on the road, I’ll have more people to call to meet for dinner. But it is also a bittersweet end of an era when I saw these women frequently. Once again, technology is our friend in this situation, because the friend who is now in Florida happily gave the comparative weather report today between her balmy beach and my city, snowed in today by Winter Storm Q.

Tomorrow I may send a comparison of python sightings–what do you think?

Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes. . .

Free shutterstock_97614038 Heart shaped balloon

. . . or, with that oversized wine glass of Syrah.

I will say that, while we don’t officially celebrate Valentine’s Day, we managed to have quite a nice time last night.  We got home around 7 and decided to heat up some soup instead of cooking dinner.  To make it more celebratory, we also opened a bottle of one of our favorite California Syrahs, 2009 6th Sense, by Michael David Winery.

And it was good.

I’ve been stressed lately—and an evening of Syrah, reminiscing and Castle on TV, all worked as a very nice chill pill.  At one point, Phil asked me if I remembered our first kiss, then did a little extemporaneous reenactment.

Also good.

So, I guess we do sort of celebrate Valentine’s Day. I made a Jib Jab Valentine e-card (for some reason, I love sticking our faces on the animated characters. It may be that I am just easily entertained) and we had wine and got mushy.  We just didn’t go out, buy flowers or candy or cards or have a fancy dinner.

So I hope all of you who celebrate Valentine’s Day had at least as much fun as I did.

And for those of you who don’t celebrate—an anecdote.

Once upon a time I was card shopping over lunch on Valentine’s day.  A couple of guys about 30 years old, were also last minute card shopping over lunch. The guy looking for the card was not happy about the whole thing. He was griping and complaining and basically cussing the whole Valentine tradition.  Finally, he found a big, red, shiny card, showed it to his friend and said “This ought to shut her up!”

So, as we pause to bask in the remembered glow of that special moment, we can all give thanks that we are not in that relationship!

To Celia

Ben Jonson (~1616)

Drink to me only with thine eyes
And I will pledge with mine.
Or leave a kiss but in the cup
And I’ll not look for wine.

The thirst that from the soul doth rise
Doth ask a drink divine;
But might I of Jove’s nectar sup,
I would not change for thine.

I sent thee late a rosy wreath,
Not so much hon’ring thee
As giving it a hope that there
It could not withered be;

But thou thereon did’st only breathe,
And sent’st it back to me,
Since when it grows and smells, I swear
Not of itself, but thee.

Dragged Kicking and Screaming into the 21rst Century


I am usually pretty tech savvy, but I had to be coerced to join Facebook.

I told people about 5 years ago that “I don’t have kids, I don’t have grandkids and I’m not trying to hook up—why do I want to be on Facebook?”

But, I was on a committee using it to communicate with members, so I joined and ended up with friends from that organization. And I never checked it. It took me a while to even “get” how it worked. Every time I logged in, I had so many posts from one friend with her picture showing up, I thought I was logging on to her page! Like I said, it took me a while to “get” it.

Later, a cousin was blogging about his cancer treatments via Facebook (he’s in remission and things look good btw) so I ended up friends with some family members. Then I accidently (not kidding here) accepted a friend request from an old classmate. A few weeks later, I got more friend requests from old classmates—hence the term viral, I guess. I will admit, I thought about dropping off of Facebook and ignoring their requests.  It took me a couple of weeks to think it over before I decided that I would “Friend”  these people—I don’t live near my old hometown and haven’t kept up with many people there, but—I also have nothing against most of them. So I did.

And that started the avalanche— I have “Friends” on Facebook I’ve not seen face to face in 20 years, people I see several times a month and relatives, both my age and younger.  I have them in distinct groups for my rare posts (not everyone gets everything—if I’m posting correctly) and I begrudgingly check Facebook every couple of days—ok, probably more like every day now.

And while I’m not in love with it, I am starting to see some value to it.

For one thing, I’m becoming better acquainted with some of the younger members of my family, which has been nice. And I’m also able to keep track of my friends and acquaintances locally, who I don’t see as often since work has become ever busier.

I went to a going away party tonight for a friend. There were a lot of people there, many I have not seen in a long time, between their schedules and mine.  However, I knew what most of them were up to, thanks to Facebook. For, buried amidst the forwarded cat pictures, the marketing dross and the “hit like if you love your son, your granddaughter or your gun” posts and the countless pictures of cute babies, there is enough real information that I was remarkably up to date with is happening in my friends’ lives.

I know whose mother is moving in with her, whose brother is very sick, and who is looking for a new job. In fact, I learned that my friend was moving out of state via Facebook when she announced her house was up for sale and that she was closing on a condo!

So, while I read Facebook more than I post (Cue my mom saying  “Everyone says that.” ) I acknowledge people’s situations and posts and make this bit of social media a tool that really does help me keep me in the loop. Thus I will begrudgingly admit I’m glad I joined Facebook.

But I need to get better at the ins and outs of using it, because earlier this week, I once again accidently accepted a friend request when I was trying to hit “not now.”

Disco Inferno

DiscoBallVectorIllustrationPhilip and I were fortunate enough to be invited to a networking event while we were at a conference that turned out to be one of the more pleasant such events ever and a bit disturbing. First — the fun.
This event was hosted by a LRV(Large, Rich Vendor) and we were guests of one of LRV’s clients, who is also one of ours. We got there, found our client and she helped us network with a few other people. However, this night turned moved immediately from “vendor networking event” to PARTY!
LRV provided a serious buffet with Kobe beef sliders, flat breads, dips and chips and cheeses and crackers and truffle flavored French fries. They also had an open bar, unfettered by the limitations of drink tickets. All of this overlooking a large dance floor and on the stage. . . a disco cover band called Le Freak.
I had Googled the band and was not sure how they’d be, given their satirical bent. I also know how many 70s things are flat out mocked in movies, but, free is good, and we were in town to network, so we would NETWORK!
When we arrived, the band had just started playing, and about 4 women were dancing in a group and one couple had hit the floor. Sounds like a Junior High Dance, doesn’t it?
But soon, all that changed. (I did mention the open bar.) The band was doing a very good job with the music, had a ribald banter that loosened up the crowd, and was playing song after song that scored a direct bull’s eye for the demographic of the room, which was 55 plus or minus a decade, for the most part. Early in the first set, people were hitting the dance floor in larger numbers.
People in their 50s, of various fitness levels and body types, flocked to the dance floor. Plump guys in pleated Dockers were getting down, and doing such a good job with the old Disco steps, you could almost see them at 17. Cowboys in boots and hats were swinging their partner, not quite Do-Si-Do but since it was Texas, there were people doing a country swing dance to a disco beat—and everybody in the place was having fun. In a very short time anyone who wasn’t dancing was singing along to every song.
This led to the disturbing part of the night. The group played KC and the Sunshine Band’s song with the deep and compelling lyrics:

That’s the way, unh-huh, unh-huh
I like it, unh-huh, unh-huh.

Like most people, the woman at the next table was singing along. And she was putting serious moves on her husband–very serious moves—almost embarrassingly serious moves, which he seemed to be brushing off. That was less disturbing to me than noticing that, as she was pawing his arm/back/neck in time to the music, The Dancing Queen is no longer only 17, and she has age spots!  She was tall, slim, dressed in a top with just a touch of disco glitter and, on closer observation, she not only had age spots, she could be described as frail!
ACK!! Old ladies are not supposed to know all the words do disco songs (NOTE: given my age, when I think of someone as an old lady, they are pretty old). While I’ve long recognized that when I hit the nursing home, the music we’ll listen to will include Queen and ABBA. I just wasn’t expecting to see the first wave of the Disco Generation look so ready to check in to Shady Pines quite yet!
Of course, any 30 year old in the place was probably thinking the same thing about ME!


calendarDo you make New Year’s Resolutions? Many people I know are so goals oriented that they have multiple times a year that they evaluate and set new goals. Some friends of mine have an annual theme. They use their theme word or sentence as a rallying cry for the year—to cheer one another on, when making a toast, to celebrate a victory or recover from a setback. We are using a “best year” theme because, it looks like it should be our best year for business in a while, and we are both optimistic about it being a good year health wise, money wise and just life in general.
When asked about resolutions this year, I mentioned our goal setting strategy –we take time to sit down and go over individual and couples goals with each other for short term, mid-term and long term – and ranging from work to home life to recreational goals/wants. We have moved away from resolutions, per se, and toward implementing Continual Improvement Process methods in our lives. If I strive to be better and more aware of things on an ongoing basis, improvement should come.
And let’s face it… I want what most of us want—health, love, security, a certain amount of pleasure and learning of new things. A challenge here and there. The specifics may change over time, but the truth is I want to continue improving, whatever that may mean or however it may be measured, because I believe that people don’t stand still—and if we are not moving forward, in whatever way we can, we are losing ground.