Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Today marks 20 years of marriage for the ball & chain and me.  20 years.  2 decades.  2x10 years.  4x5 years.  A looooooong time.  I consider myself lucky.  With over half of marriages today ending in divorce, most within the first 5 years, 20 is an amazing feat.  It means we've survived the 7 year itch (and the 14 year one too!).  We've gotten through those first awkward years of getting to know one another from...ahem...bathroom habits to what NOT to cook for him.  We've gone through better and worse and (hopefully) worst.  We are looking forward to going through best. 

Here we are May 30, 1992.  So young.  So full of hope.  Tony looks like he wants to run. And yes, I took this photo with my iPhone because I was too technologically impaired to scan it.

So how have we done that?  I really can't tell you.  Certainly, we fit the old adage of "opposites attract."  He's quiet; I'm chatty.  He'd like to stay home; I'd rather go out.  He likes Moe; I'm into 80's hair bands.   In fact, this past weekend, my friend remarked over caramel vodka and Godiva shooters, that if she didn't know us and we put him in a line-up, she'd NEVER pick him out as my husband. 
He could be the one 2nd from the left.  Nope, that's Joe Pesci.  They have the same scowl.

I often wonder if it was dumb luck or hard work that has made the difference.  It certainly doesn't FEEL like work.  I mean, I find myself looking back and wondering where 20 years have gone.  I guess time really does fly when you're having fun. 
See how fast it's flying???

I guess if I had advice to give to young people (ok, watch it, I AM still a spring chicken!!!), it would be this:  communicate, communicate, communicate.  I know it sounds incredibly dumb, but I can tell that man almost anything.  I can tell him if I've flirted with the waiter at a bar.  I can tell him if I'm sad.  I can tell him if I'm happy.  I can tell him about my explosive diarrhea (ok, I usually don't share THAT sort of stuff).  But we talk.  I LOVE talking to him.  When we were first newlyweds, we used to talk about our future--where we would be in 20 years.  3 kids, 2 houses, and umpteen jobs later, we still talk about our future...mostly how the hell we're paying for the kids' college, which is looming dangerously close. 

I'd also say that laughter is the best medicine for stressful times.  We laugh a lot.  Most people who meet my husband don't know what a funny guy he is.  But he's funny and fun.   I giggle a lot when I'm with him (and not just in bed!)  If you can laugh your way through it, it will get better.

Finally, I would say that the thing I have the most trouble with but the thing that we do pretty well is letting go of ego stuff.  Who cares if he got to go to Foxborough to see the Ravens play the Patriots while I stayed home?  Who cares if I got to go visit a friend in Florida while he stayed home with the kids?  When you start playing tit for tat, it leads to resentment, and that's no laughing matter.

So, 20 years has gone by.  I will say that this man is my soulmate, the love of my life, and my friend.  My hope for all of you is that you have that too or find it.  It makes for a great little life. I leave you with the song that he sings every anniversary:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Let Me Pencil You In...

It's that time of year again--springtime--mostly April and May--when the entire world turns crazy and my calendar is full of writing and events.  This will go on until mid-June.
I wish MY May calendar was as clear as this one!!!

Tomorrow is my youngest child's 10th birthday.  Have I planned a big party for such a momentous occasion?  Have I painstakingly filled out birthday invitations or even gotten his presents?  Can I get a "heck no, Joe!"???  Truth is, we will spend his birthday tomorrow running from work/school to a pack meeting (his), a Venturing Crew meeting (my daughter's), and Wrestling Open Mats (the surly older brother's) with maybe a small chance to partake of the cake that I am currently baking.   His party won't happen until June at this point. 

Then, there's my anniversary--another big deal, since it is our Two Decade Anniversary.  20 years is a long time to be sharing and planning a calendar with someone.  The 20th anniversary was traditionally the China anniversary, although the modern symbol is platinum.  Food for thought, but hubby and I JUST barely will squeeze in an overnight at a nearby inn in something called the "Sleigh Room" (sounds kinky) and maybe will enjoy some down time.  Besides, we still have our china from when we got married, and I'm not much for fancy dinner parties...who could be with MY schedule???
"Ah, Stephanie, you throw such lov-el-ee pahties."

Hey, at least it's better than our 10 year anniversary.  We had to celebrate early because I was very VERY preggers with the 10 year old whose birthday is tomorrow.  The 10 year is supposed to be the Diamond Anniversary, but we made it the Star Wars Anniversary because we saw Episode II in the theaters and ate at the Olive Garden until I thought I'd pop. 
The 10 Year Anniversary:  The Star Wars Anniversary--they look just like Tony & I, right?

I just hate feeling like I have to pencil in the fun things in my life.  What happened to the days when I was bored to tears?  I sure do miss those sometimes.  Not really...but I am a little envious of people who can drop everything and do something fun at the spur of the moment...without having to refer to a calendar to make sure that fun doesn't conflict with something already scheduled.  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Shake, Rattler, Roll

Last weekend, my daughter and I went camping in Thurmont to count rattlesnakes.  Yep, you heard me right.  We INTENTIONALLY sought out rattlesnakes...on purpose...INTENTIONAL...really.  

Yep, countin' these things.
I have to admit--people look at me weirdly when I tell them that I really don't mind snakes.
  And these rattlers really were pretty chilled out.  Well, most of the time.  As long as we didn't get too close, I didn't even see most of the 10 that we saw even glance our way.  Some of them rattled, making a nice little rhythm that we could've danced to, but most of them really were fairly docile.  The rattlesnake biologist who was with our group said that timber rattlers (the kind in Thurmont) are really pretty calm and rarely bite...unless of course you step on them.  And even if you are bitten, most of the bites are "dry bites," meaning that they don't inject their venom into you.  Comforting thought.

Hey, Indiana, this wouldn't have happened if you were counting timber RATTLESNAKES.

No, I was not one bit afraid of our friends under the rocks.  I was more afraid of CLIMBING said rocks.  I'm not a big "heights" person.  I can fly in airplanes.  I can take escalators.  But if you get me on a rocky cliff where I might fall to my certain death, I am a bundle of nerves.  Oh , our group leader tried to comfort me with, "Most injuries are just broken ankles."


So I was extremely...extremely, careful, and went slowly on said rocks.  As a result, I only got to see 6 of the 10 snakes.  However, BECAUSE I was so careful, I actually FOUND one of them myself!!!  No, I didn't fall on it.  So, slow and steady DID win the race...or at least found a venomous rattlesnake.

Overall, it was an awesome and awe-inspiring experience.  The purpose of the trip was to document the early emergence of the snakes, since we had an early spring.  Climate change at its best--snakes out earlier than expected.  But we found other types of snakes and saw a lot of frogs and other signs of nature.  Reminds me that this world isn't just ours alone, and we have some pretty cool creatures out there.  Plus, I was able to bond some with my daughter, and that is well worth the dangers of snakebites and rolling off the rock cliff.
See?  We're smiling!  The snake...not so much!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Sometimes, I just get so completely overwhelmed that I feel like I'm drowning in life's responsibilities.  I've felt like this the past few weeks.  I'm low on self-esteem and energy levels, while life is high on responsibility and obligations.  I'm trying to keep afloat but every second I feel like I'm going to go under and all the things I need to do, should do, or could do will pull me under.  It's not a good feeling. 

Good thing I learned how to swim.  Now, someone out there throw me a life jacket!