Taking our relationship to the next level

Tonight’s story will warm the cockles of your frozen cojones. It is a story intended for adults who are living just south of the Arctic Circle and north of Ha, Ha, we’re so hot here. As I’m typing, I’m sitting here in a sweat suit while Lizzy is wearing 10 layers of whatever women wear at her place. The cats are looking at her like, “this is our fur, and you guys lost yours, so body wax that.” I know a lot of you think, they’re all soft, cuddly and feed me every 20 minutes, but there’s more to it than that.

The reason we are not groping one another like a pair over-sexed 40 year-olds is that the thermostat quit on the coldest day of the year. This, the day when Lizzy used the oldest cliché in late 20th century English: we’re taking our relationship to the next level. It’s older than “$20 just for that?” It’s funnier than “Romo blew another game.” And more meaningful than “it’s not you, it’s me.” If the statement was taken literally, it could suggest several ideas. 1. We’re building a spaceship and expect to be leaving earth in the spring.2. We’re going to try a 3-way and we’d like your advice on how to proceed. 3 we’re going to find Jesus in the desert.

So it’s sounds so prosaic when you understand that we’re moving in together. This has been a year of tremendous discovery. Neither of us expected the year to be ending so well. For a man, finding a woman who looks good while sitting on your lap while wearing your robe is a find. For a woman, finding a man with no drug convictions is a revelation. How could we be so lucky?

I talked with a friend about the idea of finding a life partner today and I was as understanding as I could be. I told him I had found a woman who believes in recovery, and she is a mental health advocate. She had helped to close bad nursing homes, and that attracted me to her. I told him to look for a woman who has something going for herself, because otherwise she will drain your life away. A woman with whom you can talk, watch a movie or sit in silence. A woman who feels like a person and does not need you to fill the emptiness in her soul. That is a woman you can take to the next level. A woman you can bring home to your family and have them buy a warm shirt for her.

Let us all seek to find companions in 2014 whose pictures will not be posted at the local post office. Let’s take life to a whole ‘nother level.

SWikipedia: S (named ess plural esses) is the nineteenth (19th) letter in the ISO basic Latin alphabet.


Meeting friends and relatives

Cover from the soundtrack album for A Charlie ...

Cover from the soundtrack album for A Charlie Brown Christmas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


This week Lizzy and I spent time with one another’s friends and relatives. This included meeting her daughter and her family, some of Lizzy’s closest friends and Lizzy talking with my mother. For some reason, I was telling her a story about when the characters on How I met you Mother decided that they don’t like someone who one of their friends is dating, they try to sabotage the relationship. To me, anyone she could have dated before me is probably a man who is running around wearing hoodie footie pajamas and giving them friends as gifts. These are the sort of men enrolled in women’s studies classes expecting to get easy passing grades and complained when the teacher rejected their one page handwritten papers. These are not the sort of men one would want to enter the era of post racial enlightenment 2014 with, now would you? Of course not.


Of course, I am slightly exaggerating because Lizzy has a couple of wonderful adult daughters. And, no I don’t think her friends will be doing any weird stunts to set her up with their unmarried cousins. you know, the ones with the chipped teeth from playing hockey or rugby.  One thing her friends were curious about was the Christmas quilt because I had no idea what it looked like because my memory was at 24%. I had slept under the quilt 3 weeks ago but that might as well be last June for all I knew. It also seems that I see a lot of things in black and white, as my other blog talks about adding a little color to local events.


After the first weeks of romantic adventures where you are half-naked in each others arms, you begin to notice certain idiosyncrasies. The kind that Charlie Brown discussed with Lucy in the Peanuts comic strip. I had a distinct memory of Lucy handing Charlie Brown a long printout of what she called his flaws. And he responded that they were character traits. Well I picked up on a few of Lizzy’s . My sweet, darling little sweetheart is a kicker. This week I counted about 5 kicks she gave me for certain indiscretions in talking with her family and friends. Fortunately, I had seen that movie before and avoided the worst of it.


The meeting between Mom and Lizzy brought out another difference between us. I called home Christmas Day and was sitting around leisurely getting ready to visit her friends while Lizzy was frantically getting dressed. I have never understood the layers of clothes that women wear which is why I figured there was plenty of time for family bonding while Lizzy did whatever she was doing. I put Mom on speaker phone and listened while Lizzy went from room to room. Finally I decided to introduce them to one another.  It was a scene of much hilarity and fortunately there were no pictures. Or kicks. So that is how we spent our first holiday together.







The Christmas Quilt

English: Kulipuʻu, quilt from Kauai, late 19th...

English: Kulipuʻu, quilt from Kauai, late 19th or early 20th century, Honolulu Academy of Arts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The quilt was begun by my great grandmother, a woman who I never met but apparently had a strong influence on my mother. She passed along lots of skills to mom, including quilting. In fact far more than her mother did. I have seen pictures of great grandmother, who was born in the 1880s. Long after slavery had ended. she knew the stories of freedom and determination and she was determined to pass them along together with practical skills. There was my mother soaking up everything like a sponge. She knew those things would come in handy for years to come.

Mom has a loom somewhere in the basement where she works on her projects. She also has one of those sewing machines with a foot pedal. There’s enough going on in her mind and body to last for the next ten years.

When I visited mom and my sister I saw a a bright, wonderfully decorative quilt on the bed where my uncle had slept and I knew I wanted it. So I asked for her to send it to me. Tonight the quilt is on the bed where I will be snuggling with my sweetheart Lizzy. I posted pictures of it on my facebook page. Lizzy asked me not to let mom know I would be sharing the quilt with her. But I’m certain mom knows what’s going on. After all, she didn’t fall off the truck yesterday. The quilt will share her love and warmth for many years to come.

I wish you had seen my beautiful body

The couple next door to Lizzy has been together for many years. All around us are those who have been in long-term relationships. And then, there we are, unique for many reasons. Being an interracial couple is  still a little different but not nearly so shocking as it was forty years ago. When I talk with Lizzy about her life, it is clear that she was involved in things that, if we had met year ago , we might have become involved. We were ardent troublemakers, people on the left protesting about war, racism, discrimination and the like. And due to genetics, we weighed less than we do now. It took many years before I reached 150 pounds. Now that I am almost 25 pounds heavier, people most often ask where I am storing it. And yes, small wispy women with intelligent eyes were popular when we were young radicals.

But there’s always a danger in starting to go down that road, isn’t there? We start to lose awareness of the gifts that we bring to our relationship. We can forget the wisdom we have gained from the things we have learned about relationships and, life and sex. I hope I am much better at all three than I was back then and that I had excellent women teachers. And (don’t tell Lizzy this but) I wasn’t just attracted to her body. There is her fierce sense of justice, her passion for life, and her hope and desire for recovery also attracted me.  Those were things that I heard in her voice the first time that we met. I am almost certain she would not have wanted to help me learn about women’s undergarments. Not every woman wants to take on “a young trainee” to quote the song “Want Ads”. She probably would have voted me out of the party.

Margaret is dead, Lizzy killed her

The names in this story have been changed to protect the guilty. When I began this blog, a few days ago, I decided to protect the name of my little dear companion. She’s one of those you can recall or imagine standing up to authority all her life. I can see her helping to lay out the newspaper back in the 70’s, making college authorities nervous  and making the best possible decisions she knew how about life and love. that’s all we can do, really.


I met Lizzy a few years back as a peer specialist before certification had taken hold. And I thought: she’s a nice little interesting woman. She even gave me a ride one day from a meeting. I figured a woman like that was probably married to a guy who made a lot more money than me. She was probably a few years younger than me, so nothing was going to happen.


Well wouldn’t you know, time passes and here’s this same little slender cutie coming down the hallway at the mental hospital. And I asked her out. So, now, suddenly we’re a couple. She’ roasted a chicken, which means, for Irish women, things are really serious. Well, Lizzy and me, we had our first disagreement tonight. I had encouraged her to read the blog and she did and she hit the roof when she saw that I had invented the name Margaret for her. She said “you can call me Liz, Lizzy or Chloe, but no Margaret. The brief existence of Margaret has ended tragically but Liz has arisen to take her place. Isn’t that just like a man to screw up his sweetheart’s name?


Recall Walker

Recall Walker (Photo credit: Rochelle, just rochelle)



Guilt is gone


television (Photo credit: jeevs)


I wrote about surviving this morning and that seems so appropriate. Look at the things I talked about and yet forgot to mention the person who meant the most to me for much of that earlier period: my brother. there is not a day that passes when I don’t have a thought about him or see someone who reminds me of him. If you’re in my age group, you have probably lost people like my brother: a sibling, or a parent or fellow soldiers who meant something to you and you think: who am I to have survived? What was so special about me? I don’t deserve this.


But like me, you learned that as the survivor you were meant to carry on and live your life to the fullest because that’s all we can do. If I had died earlier there are so many millions of things I would have missed. Including the simple joy of holding “Margaret” while she cooked yesterday.




Survivor series

The thing that is forever etched in my brain about being my current age is how long I have survived. Look at what happened since the 1950s. There was the long war in Southeast Asia and the military draft. There was the use of LSD and the problem of bad trips. I had a few of them and the paranoia associated with bad reactions to LSD makes you not want to go back there. There was living in a roach filled house in Cairo, Illinois and not knowing what the hell was happening to me. There was the flophouse in New York. And of course, everyone’s big fear was HIV/AIDS. And so for all the things that I have survived and learned from, I now award myself credit. What do you credit yourself for having achieved?