Monday, May 31, 2010

Lessons learned about marriage – on the weekend of my 27th wedding anniversary

After 20-some intensely busy years raising four children who were born within five short years, Tom and I are now empty nesters -- and while many weekends include a visit from at least one of our kids, we are more and more often on our own for a week or two (or more)at a time.

We realized about a week ago that, with Aleks in school in the Czech Republic, Peter away at summer school at WSU, Kat heading to a friend’s cabin for the long weekend, and Elisabeth with plans of her own, we’d be spending the three-day holiday weekend, the weekend of our 27th wedding anniversary, alone… together.

On Saturday morning, we packed our suitcases and the only “child” left at home – Shasta -- and headed to Portland for a quick, impromptu 24-hour trip. 


We toured Portland’s breweries, spending an afternoon drinking beer and meeting great people…




That’s Shawn, our waiter at the Rogue Brewery and, with his keen anticipatory ESP and genuinely nice personality, quite possibly one of the best waiters we’ve ever had anywhere.




This pretzel at Deschutes Brewery was incredible! That dipping sauce is cheese sauce and sweet-spicy Dijon mustard – fabulous!



That’s authentic Polish kielbasa and perogi – delicious!






Our anniversary dinner – or rather, the lava cake dessert, at The Chart House. 

(I’m beginning to realize that our trip centered largely around food!)

On Sunday we headed back to Seattle in the typical drizzly Pacific Northwest weather, arriving home early in the evening, with another whole day of the holiday weekend ahead of us.  We decided to watch a movie together and settled on Valentine’s Day, a romantic comedy.  I’m sure Tom would have rather watched a movie with explosions, car chases, and boobs, but he was happy to oblige when I suggested something a bit less testosterone-laden.


True to form and completely and totally beyond my control, I fell asleep at least 23 times during the two hour movie, waking up enough to apologize for insisting on a movie and then sleeping through it – to which Tom just nodded knowingly. 

At one point, I woke up to hear someone (Ashton Kutcher?) say to someone else (Jennifer Gardner) something about “marrying your best friend.” 

‘Yup,’ I remember thinking before nodding off again, ‘marrying your best friend really is the secret.’

Marry your best friend… marry your best friend.  As I half-dozed, the phrase danced in my head, and I mulled it around and pondered it – half awake and half dreaming.

As the credits rolled, I apologized again for sleeping through the movie, then kissed Tom goodnight, saying I had to go to bed, that I couldn’t stay up one second longer.  He jokingly commented that he knows me well enough after all these years to expect nothing different. 

Marry your best friend

As I sleepily headed upstairs I realized that this is the secret to our very busy, family-oriented first 27 years together – and that this is what will see us through the much calmer, much quieter next 27 years of marriage (should we be so lucky). 

I married my best friend – someone who shares almost all of my core values and philosophies, from child rearing to home decor to politics.  In this regard, we are of one mind.  Interestingly, though, Tom’s basic personality, as well as his hobbies and interests, are totally different from mine.  In that regard, we are yin and yang.

Being best friends who are looking at another 27 (relatively quiet, childless) years together, we decided to go look at one of these today:





So if my kids (or anyone else) should ask me the secret to a good marriage and the secret to actually wanting to spend days or weeks on end with someone in 86 square feet of space, I’d tell them what I’ve learned, not only in the past 30-some years of knowing Tom, but in the past 3 or so months of working at The Gottman Relationship Institute.  I’d tell them the same thing that my “boss,” Dr. John Gottman has learned in his 30-some years of doing research on relationships: friendship is paramount.  All the other stuff – passion and dreams and goals – are really, really important, but a foundation in true friendship and really enjoying your partner’s company most of the time is what everything else in a relationship is built on, and if you don’t have that, it’s much more challenging to move together smoothly among the stages of life, from courtship to marriage to family to empty nesting and beyond.

We’re approaching the “beyond” stage now.  Twenty-seven years ago, I thought of people at this stage of life, and in this stage of a relationship, as OLD and boring.  Now I know that, although we might be approaching (gasp!) old (but please, NOT boring!), we’re still married and still best friends and nothing can be better than that.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

27 years!

…and I’d do it all over again…

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exactly the same way.


Because it just works.


Any way you look at it.


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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Happy Birthday, Elisabeth!

In what seems like the blink of an eye and the beat of a heart, you have grown into a beautiful, smart, confident, adventurous, loving woman.

I am so proud to call you my daughter…

…but more than anything, I am proud to call you my friend.

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Elisabeth on dunes

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RA Calendar Pics 015




It still applies. 

I love you!

Scan088, March 04, 2006


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Friday, May 21, 2010

My new employer, The Gottman Relationship Institute, has a new website!

Check it out at!


Would love to hear your thoughts, suggestions, and feedback!

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Shasta lives!

I spent the morning at Seattle Municipal Court, prepared to defend my doggy against the charges levied against her.  (OK, against me since I’m officially her human owner.)

The good news is the all charges were dropped, citing lack of evidence (the “victim” didn’t show up).

imageThe bad news is that, because I left the house so early, Shasta might be guilty of pooping in the house by the time I get home today. 

Now that is a case!

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Does “under God” belong in the American Pledge of Allegiance?

A friend of mine just posted this on Facebook:

“On the recommendation of my best friend, I am happy to place this on Facebook and encourage others to follow suit. I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands: one Nation UNDER GOD, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all. OUR COUNTRY, OUR FLAG & GOD DESERVE RESPECT! Let's see how many Americans will ... GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!”

I replied:

“What God? One of the founding principles of America is freedom of religion... or freedom to not be religious at all. For that reason, I believe "under God" has NO place in the pledge of allegiance and should be removed.”


I know my viewpoint is controversial, but I truly have no idea how America can have freedom of religion as one of its fundamental tenets and then have “under God” in it’s Pledge of Allegiance.  Whose god is referred to in the pledge?  Do you think the “committee” who made this decision (because this phrase was added in the 50’s by a committee!) was thinking Muslim or Jewish or… had any thought at all of atheism?  No – it’s a Christian god that’s referred to, as if America and a Christian god are one. 

This is NOT true… nor should it be true!

And while we’re at it, I have to say that I think atheism is not accepted at all in America.  In fact, I think it’s overtly despised.  If you say you’re an atheist, it’s almost seen as synonymous with being un-American. And worse, it seems to be OK in this country to be anti-atheist.  People are pretty careful to be accepting (or at least to act in a politically correct manner) toward gays and other religions, but if you’re an atheist… well then you are dirt in the eyes of many Americans!

How American, how Christian, how “under God” is that attitude?!

This stuff really pisses me off.

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Clean garage: CHECK! (Finally.)

Before (as in, this morning as well as all the way back to when I broke my ankle):

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During (As in, all day long):

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(Boo is no help at all.  He’s digesting angel food cake.)

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After (As in, ouch – I need a bubble bath!):

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Oh yes, and this is an after picture, too:


…because all that stuff is waiting for transport to here, where they will live happily ever after!


Tomorrow, if I can still move, I think I’ll tackle some weeds.  :-)

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