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CONFESSIONS OF A MEMA

Do you know what I discovered this week?  Being a mother doesn’t stop when your kid turns 18, and being a grandmother is full of overwhelming joys but also sleepless nights of worry—even if one of your “grandkids” is a dog.  My grand dog (Wednesday Addams) went blind in one day this week—literally.  (When my younger daughter went to work one morning, Wednesday Addams kissed her goodbye, and when she returned at the end of a very long day, my grand dog ran to the door to greet her, sailed right past her mommy, and ran smack dab into a wall—almost knocking herself unconscious).  The Vet’s verdict:  SARDS—Sudden acquired retinal degeneration disease.  My daughter was destroyed.  (Now keepin’ it 100—I don’t even like dogs.  I tolerate this dog, but my thirty-two-year-old daughter would give her life for this creature who has been with her since her college days, so because she was broken-hearted over this sudden tragedy, I burst into tears right along with her.  I absolutely lost it—for days!)  When your kids hurt—no matter how old they are—as a parent, you hurt!

Wednesday Addams Blind

GRANDDOG, WEDNESDAY ADDAMS, Photo credit:  C. Tomczyk

 As we are quickly approaching Mother’s Day, the grand dog incident caused me to meditate on my role as mother and grandmother.  In the wee small hours of the morning, when no one is there to know whether you’re telling the truth or not except God, I had to admit that—upon review—I have been a much better grandmother than a mother.  Oh, at first blush, the kids will tell you that I was an awesome mother (because they are now in their thirties and have had a taste of how rough life can be, and thus they think I walk on water to have accomplished what I did with them on so little time and so little money).  But if you ply them with a few drinks, both my girls would tell you that they have no idea who this woman is that is the grandmother to their son and nephew.  They would tell you that I have been replaced by an alien, because this patient, gentle, sympathetic, long-suffering, delightful woman who goes by the name of “Mema” as a grandmother is not the same woman who showed up to be their mother when they entered the world.

Mothers Day Peter Broelman Australia

CARTOON USED WITH PERMISSION: Peter Broelman, Australia

Case in point:  When my seven-year-old grandson comes to my house, if he cleans up his mess, I am ecstatic, but if he doesn’t—gets distracted for some reason or another—I’ll clean up the mess and think nothing of it because I’d much rather he have the time to hang out with his grandfather and me doing fun things than me having to nag him about my OCD need for an orderly house.  But when my kids were little, a clean house was next to godliness.  There were color-coordinated crates for every type of toy: two brown crates for building blocks, one green crate for Legos, one pink crate for Barbies, and a miniature trunk with a lid for dress-up clothes and doll outfits.  And if they didn’t pick up their toys after playing with them, then there would be a mandatory “time-out” for that toy and its accoutrement the next time around.  I’ll never forget overhearing a conversation between my four-year-old daughter and her sister who was three years old at the time (they are 21 months apart in age), as I was coming down the hallway to check on the clean-up progress.  The younger daughter (the three year old) was hysterical about the mandate to clean up her toys.  To hear her wailing, you would have thought she had lost her mother.

3-YR-OLD:  I hate dis, I hate dis . . .I not gonna pick up toys—not now, not ever [hiccups, sobs, lip quivering hysterics]!

4-YR-OLD:  Well . . .  you better get over it, and just do it.  I been livin’ with dis woman all my life, and she ain’t never gonna change.

treat-mom-to-a-margarita-this-mothers-day

GOOGLE MEME: We Know Memes

Then there was the time when my grandson visited our new home in our retirement town for the first time.  We had our children during our “salad days” which meant we barely had a pot to pee in or a window to throw it out of.  But in our retirement years we have been blessed with the finances to purchase a gorgeous home, and the first thing we did was outfit a wonderful room for our grandson which bears a hand-painted sign with his name on it.   Coming from a small apartment in NYC, he was more than thrilled to have his own room—he was overjoyed.  So when he heard a knock on the door while in the middle of some intricate Lego project when he was just five years old—assuming he knew who it was—he responded with extreme agitation to the knocker.

5YR-OLD-GRANDSON:  Go away!  I am very busy in my own, new, beautiful room.  Go away and mind your own beeswax!!!

GRANDPA:  Okay, Buddy.  It’s Grandpa.  I thought you might want to go to the park with me and try the toy airplane we bought.  We can go later.

5YR-OLD-GRANDSON: [horrified beyond belief and immediately yanking open his bedroom door] GRANDPA, GRANDPA, I’M SOOOOOO SORRY.  I HAD NO IDEA IT WAS YOU—I THOUGHT IT WAS SOMEBODY ELSE.  I WOULD HAVE NEVER SAID THAT TO YOU—NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS!

(This is so true:  Said grandson absolutely adores his grandpa and had never spoken disrespectfully to him before then, nor has he ever done so.  But I digress.)  At this point in the story, his mother (my older daughter) comes barreling down the hall like a bat out of Hell, screaming: “AND WHO DID YOU THINK IT WAS?  HUH?  ME—YOUR MOTHER?! THE ONE WHO STILL BEARS THE STRETCH MARKS FROM BRINGING YOU INTO THIS WORLD THAT SOUNDS LIKE YOU SOON WANT TO DEPART FROM BECAUSE CLEARLY YOU HAVE LOST YOUR MIND?!”

GRANDSON:  Ah, yes . . . I mean no . . . I mean oh, man . . .

Grandma Rescue Call

GOOGLE MEME

At which point, Super Mema jumped in to save the poor boy’s hide by pulling my daughter aside so that we could have a butt-saving conversation out of my grandson’s earshot.  “Now, now, darling,” I said very soto voce—trying to bring calm to the situation.  “There is no concrete evidence that my precious grandson thought he was speaking to you.  And even if he was, he didn’t say, ‘Go fuck yourself, Mother!’ I whispered.  He said, ‘mind your own beeswax’—completely innocuous!”  And like a flash, my older daughter turned on me, one hand on hip and the other with finger wagging in my face as she addressed my slippage in the parenting department while her eyes rolled around in her head.

OUTRAGED DAUGHTER:  Mother, you are truly incorrigible!  This child can do no wrong in your eyes!  Do you know what type of ingrate I’m going to have on my hands when he turns sixteen years old, if I let him get away with this type of sassiness at five years old?  Who are you and what did you do with my mother?  Do you remember the time I royally sassed you, and you popped me upside my head when I was a teenager?  Do you remember how I got all full of myself and threatened to call the child-abuse hot line?  And what did you say, alien-woman-who-claims-to-be-my-mother?  Huh?

ME:  I said something like, “EXCELLENT!  Let me dial the number for you, so that the Po-Po will come right away and take me to jail, because at least I will get a good night’s sleep without having to put up with mouthy teenagers.  I haven’t slept through the night since you and your sister got your periods and decided to become ‘all that and a bag of chips.’  I could use a good rest from tussling with ‘little women’…”  And then I started talking to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (or whoever else would listen):  “Can you believe this child?  Oh, Lawd have mercy!  Jesus, help me—help me Jesus, ‘cause this baby you saw fit to bless me with sure sounds like she wants to leave this world mouth first and return to you!  Good God, Almighty!”

OUTRAGED DAUGHTER:  Uh . . . huh!   I rest my case alien mother!

At which point, my five-year-old grandson sensed this to be the perfect timing for him to escape and join his grandfather for a trip to the park, but as he passed me he took full advantage of the situation and whispered to me:  “While we’re on the subject, Mema, you have no idea what this woman does to me when you’re not around.”  To which my daughter replied, as she chased after her son as he giggled hysterically while fleeing down the steps and out the door:  “I HEARD THAT, MISTER!”

Grandchildren award

GOOGLE MEME

***

MEMA’S SELAH (“AHA MOMENT”) ABOUT BEING A MOTHER AND GRANDMOTHER

I am discovering that I have a confession to make: I love being a grandmother, but I did not enjoy being a mother when the kids were—well, kids!  Don’t get me wrong.  I loved (and still do love) my girls—I would have given my life for them in a heartbeat (and still would), but I did not have the patience, the finances, the help, or the support from an extended community that I needed as a mother to give them a Sesame Street life—in other words, a less stressed-out, laid-back life.  (I lived in a warring foreign country when they were first born for several years, and then we moved to a racist, hostile environment in the American south as an interracial family with no relatives, no decent friends, and limited finances during my kids’ formative years—the latter part of which I worked outside the home.)  It took all of my energy and wits just to keep us all strong, thriving, alive, and afloat as an interracial family. There was no time to give “space” for shenanigans, “coloring outside the lines,” “silliness,” or “messiness” in general.  I deeply regret that lack in my mothering journey.

I think the reason I love being a grandmother is because I now have the time, the peace, the graceful living environment, the finances, and the patience to sit and listen—to play.  I no longer have the stress of trying to stay alive and guarding against haters.  Also, I only have one grandchild.  I actually know people who have 14 and counting.  I honestly don’t think I’d do well with that many grandkids—I’m just not that kind of woman.  I can hang with a couple more if they should come along, but I still have to maintain some modicum of order and sanity—that’s just how I roll.  Which is why I am going to hop on a plane to NYC this weekend and take my grandson to his first Broadway play, to which I can hear both my daughters’ screaming:  “HEY, WHAT’S UP WITH THAT?  YOU NEVER TOOK US TO SEE A BROADWAY SHOW!”  To which I will reply:  “Well, if I wasn’t so busy feeding and clothing you and trying to keep you alive, maybe I could have taken you to Broadway and NYC.  Besides, didn’t the truck-and-bus shows count as “Broadway cred” that wandered through town every now and then?”

Cap Amer II Frame

LITTLE GRANDSON DOIN’ HIS SUPERHERO THING/PHOTO CREDIT:  E. TOMCZYK

***

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES ON MOTHERHOOD AND GRANDMOTHERHOOD

“A mother becomes a true grandmother the day she stops noticing the terrible things her children do because she is so enchanted with the wonderful things her grandchildren do.”—Lois Wyse

 “I have been grateful for the influence of my grandmother and my grandfather in my life. I remember my grandmother as a queenly woman. My father could be stern, and my grandparents would remind him that we were just boys.”—James E. Faust

“When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.”—Sophia Loren

Grandparents spoil

GOOGLE MEME

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR?  Check out www.eleanortomczyk.com

WANT TO READ THE AUTHOR’S LATEST BOOKS?  Monsters’ Throwdown and Fleeing Oz are both on sale at Amazon (Paperback and Kindle).

Happy Mothers Day Card Nate Beeler The Columbus Dispatch

CARTOON USED WITH PERMISSION: Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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VALENTINE’S DAY CARD KISS-OFFS!

Do you know what I discovered a long time ago about finding a decent man?   It ain’t easy, Baby! I had to kiss a lot of frogs before I found a prince and date a lot of cretins before I landed a Renaissance man. It took years, but I finally found the love of my life (WW, “White and Wonderful”).  We have fought the demons of life together for over forty years, and we’re still holding on to each other like a couple of otters.

Sweet Otters

But I almost missed him—almost missed him by a thousand miles or more because I kept giving my heart to men who didn’t deserve me. It’s as if the Cupid who “shot” me with his love arrows, that drew me to those other men, was stoned and in need of target practice. Had I not instinctively known the Maya Angelou dictate—“When someone tells you who they are, believe them the first time—I would have “settled” and summarily screwed up my life. Instead, I walked—no, I bolted—the minute they did me wrong, and I never looked back.  I didn’t wait around to see if they would change because I knew they wouldn’t.  And I kept on running until I eventually found my main man.

Cupid Screw Up

So I decided this Valentine’s holiday to send “Valentine Kiss-Off” cards (à la Jimmy Fallon’s “Thank You Notes”) to all the men I loved before, and thank them for showing me what I didn’t want in a man. When the genuine article came along in WW, there was no confusion. I recognized him as the “real deal” almost immediately because my ex-boyfriends had shown me by their behavior what a real man should look like. (My apologies to all poets living and dead—and all those yet to be born.)

*** *** ***

DEAR LYING, JIVE-TIME, SECRETLY MARRIED BOYFRIEND OF 1971

Bad Romance

You promised you loved me,

I believed you, I did.

Though you rarely showed up,

Half the times that you said.

I decided to surprise you

That summer on tour,

Drove through the night

Met yo’ mama at the door.

“My son ain’t here,”

(Vomit churnin’ in my gut)

“I thought you was a good girl

Who knew you was a slut.”

Turns out you’re married now,

(Yo’ Mama thought I knew)

I hugged and thanked her twice,

Said: “Tell your boy, we’re through.”

Happy Valentine’s Day,

You cheatin’ a-hole Ex of old

The man who loves me now

He’s a “Mensch”* made of gold.

*MENSCH: Someone to admire and emulate, someone of noble character. The key to being “a real mensch” is nothing less than character, rectitude, dignity, a sense of what is right, responsible, decorous. (Rosten, Leo. 1968. The Joys of Yiddish. New York: Pocket Books. 237) Urban Dictionary

*** *** ***

DEAR ARROGANT, COLD-HEARTED, SOB BOYFRIEND OF 1969

Lose Weight Valentine Card

Damn, you was such a handsome boy!

Pardon me: a fine lookin’ man

All decked out in dress blues

Back from Viet Nam.

You knew it too, you son of a bitch

Thought you was all that and a bag of chips.

Skin the color of golden wheat

With succulent, luscious, to-die-for lips.

Dark brown eyes that had me,

Made me—drownin’ in pools of lust.

Then when you was all spent,

Your goddamn mood went bust.

You said: “You put on weight while I was gone

Yo’ ass not as fine as it used to be,

Slim it on down, Lil Chubby-ass Chunky,

If you want to be seen round town with me.”

Happy Valentine’s Day, OO-RAH!

My Ex-Marine in black and blue.

I walked out on your ass that very day,

Married a man, a gazillion times better than you.

Tells me daily how beautiful I am,

(After 40 years, I know he’s probably lyin’)

So what?—he really loves me for me

And I bless him for even tryin’. **

**I AM WHAT I AM: “I am what I am, I am my own special creation. So come take a look, give me the hook or the ovation. It’s my world that I want to take a little pride in, My world and it’s not a place I have to hide in, Life’s not worth a damn, Till you can say, ‘Hey world, I am what I am.’” –La Cage Aux Folles; Lyrics by Jerry Herman

*** *** ***

DEAR STUPID, CLUELESS, NEVER-PICKED-UP-A-BOOK-IN-YOUR-LIFE, BUT YOU KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT EVERYTHING, BOYFRIEND OF 1970

Sarah Palin Meme

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

You called me out

For not “gettin’ down with the peeps” like you.

 

Roses are red

Violets are blue,

You said I was actin’ all white with my talk

Said I read too much, too.

 

Roses are red

Violets are blue,

I dumped your stupid ass

For someone much smarter than you.

 

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

Valentine, you’re still shuckin’ and jivin’ in the ghetto.

Look at me! Traveling the world—praising God every day I got rid of you. ***

***LET NO ONE ELSE DEFINE YOU: “If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.”— Audre Lorde

*** *** ***

A VALENTINE WISH FOR ALL MY READERS FROM A WOMAN WHO HAS BEEN IN LOVE FOR OVER 40 YEARS WITH THE ONE THAT WAS MEANT TO BE—HERE’S THE SECRET TO LOVE:

Love someone who makes you laugh

(Anonymous Google Meme)

*** *** ***

Old Couple Farts

“Sometimes the more chances you give the more respect you lose. Your standards begin to be ignored when you let people get comfortable in knowing that another chance will always exist. They start to depend on your forgiveness. That’s why I’m no longer a slave to apologies. Treat me right the first time because I can’t guarantee you a next time (emphasis mine). It’s impossible to keep me once you’ve lost my trust. I’m not saying you have to be afraid to lose me, what I’m sayin’ is . . . I’m not afraid to walk away.” — @TrentShelton #RehabTime

“The heart that’s meant to love you will fight for you when you want to give up, pick you up when you’re feeling down, and will give their smile when it’s hard for you to find yours. They will NEVER get strength from seeing you weak, power from seeing you hurt, or joy from seeing you cry. The heart that’s meant to love you wants to see the BEST YOU, not the hurt you! Never forget that.”—@TrentShelton #RehabTime

 

WANT TO READ THE AUTHOR’S LATEST BOOK (Monsters’ Throwdown)? BUY NOW AT AMAZON!

LIKE TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR? CHECK OUT www.eleanortomczyk.com

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Tryin’ to Find a Good Man

Do you know what I’ve discovered about dating in 2014? If I were single and part of the dating scene today, I would give some serious consideration to becoming a nun. I’ve already made it perfectly clear to my husband that should he die before me, I’m bursting into a raucous chorus of “Climb Every Mountain,” and it is off to the nunnery I go. I don’t know how any of my single girlfriends will ever (young or old) find decent men. One of my friends found a good man online, but the rest of the forays of the wonderful women I know are the stuff of dating horror stories. Most of them date the dudes they meet at work with unsatisfactory conclusions and office drama, and a few mix it up at the clubs resulting in lackluster, temporary hook-ups . Their temporary “boyfriends” turn out to befor the most partparsimonious, lacking imagination, sleazy, and down-right creepy. Somehow, I don’t think God ever meant finding a good life partner to be this hard.

Exs

Actor: Kevin Hart Meme

Since I’d been getting so many heartbreaking stories sent to me, I decided to set up an advice column via my alter ego, “The Dalai Mama.” (The Dalai Mama can say what I can’t.) All the scenarios are true and the ages of the women range from 25 – 55 years old from all different walks of life and ethnicities. Please note: The names and locations have been changed to protect the screwed-over.

***

Dear Dalai Mama: I’ve been dating a man who I met several months ago at a business function. He is single and has a little boy that I have yet to meet. He’s originally from another country, but is an American citizen. “Matthew” owns several businesses and is well off. He has been uber-generous to me—almost too generous now that I think about it. From the moment we met, “Matthew” couldn’t stop showering me with expensive, over-the-top gifts. He called me six times a day professing his undying love. If I imagined a need, he was there to fulfill it—like a real-life genie love machine. I tried to put on the brakes by warning him that he was moving too fast (in the beginning I returned the gifts), but that seemed to make him more determined to push toward a future together. By the third month, he had already planned our life as husband and wife and was pressuring me to get married. I must admit all the attention was flattering, which is why I didn’t pick up on all the convoluted lies at first. But last week he flew back to his home country to attend a funeral and when I surprised him with a “Happy Easter” call on my way to church, a woman answered his phone and asked me who I was. I answered, “I’m Matthew’s girlfriend,” and she responded in a thick accent, “Oh gez? ‘Cause I Babka’s wife, bitch!” Dalai Mama, you could have knocked me over with a feather. I immediately told “the wife” that Matthew—Babka (whatever his real name is) no longer had a girlfriend cause I don’t play that. There was a lot of screaming and yelling in the background between the two of them and I hung up. I’m over this dude, but here’s the problem: The asshole has been calling me nonstop trying to “explain” why I misunderstood the situation—why he just needs time to explain—he’s sure I’d understand if I’d just hear him out. I don’t want anything to do with him. I’m no saint, but I don’t mess with other women’s husbands. Help! What if he shows up at my house when he returns from overseas? What can I say and do to end this virtually so that I never have to see him again? He had the nerve to ask me if he could meet my parents when they came to town in the future, and if I’d have a “sit down” with him and his wife because he’s sure the three of us could work something out. WTF?

Signed: The Other Woman BY MISTAKE

***

Dear Other Woman BY MISTAKE: Child, didn’t your mama ever tell you that if somethin’ seems too good to be true, it probably is? That sorry-ass man was moving way too fast and furious; he had to be up to no good from Jump Street. No matter what, don’t see that asshole ever again. Sounds like he’s tryin’ to do what the Frenchies call a ménage à trois or what some of the Mormons call “sister-wives.” Run—don’t walk away from this fool. If you do accidentally run into him, start singing Beyoncé’s “Irreplaceable” at the top of yo’ lungs like you done lost your ever-lovin’ mind, all the while showin’ him yo’ hand:

“So since I’m not your everything (irreplaceable)

How about I’ll be nothing (nothing)? Nothing at all to you (nothing, nothing)

Baby I won’t shed a tear for you (I won’t shed a tear for you)

I won’t lose a wink of sleep (a wink of sleep)

‘Cause the truth of the matter is (truth is)

Replacing you is so easy.”

***

Dear Dalai Mama: First of all, let me tell you that I’m 55 years old, and I should know better. But I was lonely—so lonely that I could hardly breathe from the heartbreak of the isolation when I met “George” about ten years ago. He was vibrant and fun. We used to go dancing and everything was an adventure. We had both been married before but didn’t see any need to tie the knot again. All our children are grown. For the first ten years we had our own homes, but after he retired, we both thought it would be prudent to move in together. Of course, he insisted on moving into my little 1,200 square-feet apartment because the upkeep of his 4,000 square feet home was too costly—so he said. After the move was when everything changed. His entire personality turned into the Goodyear Blimp. I am still working, but all he does is sit around in his La-Z-Boy all day long. He leaves his dishes on every surface except in the dishwasher, and no matter how late I have to work, he’ll wait for me to come home to cook dinner. Recently, something bizarre has happened: his brothers have convinced him that I’m trying to poison him. Also, he’s stealing cable from the neighbors and spends most nights gambling on the casino riverboats. When he goes out to gamble he gets all dressed up with too much man cologne. Why does he dress for his brothers, but for me, he just hangs out in a robe with his balls hangin’ out of the bottom of his shorts, while crunching on Cheetos from a bowl that is permanently perched on his rotund stomach? Dalai Mama, I’m lonelier now sleeping in a bed with someone than I’ve ever been in my entire life. Right now I’d give anything to (how did Gwyneth Paltrow phrase it?) “consciously uncouple” from this man who has mentally abandoned me. Can you help?

Signed: Frozen in Albuquerque

P.S. We haven’t had sex in two years.

***

Dear Frozen in Albuquerque: Have you read Eleanor Tomczyk’s new book, Monsters’ Throwdown? ‘Cause it sounds like yo’ man is going crazy, and she knows a little something about people suddenly losing their minds, as you’ll see in her book. In the meantime, this guy needs to go live somewhere else, girlfriend. You signed up to be his lover and his girlfriend—not his maid and his slave. I’ve found a “Bad Boyfriend” doll on the Internet that looks like it might do the trick to get him movin’ if you yelling at him to “GET UP” don’t work.   (I personally do not engage in voodoo, but desperate times call for desperate measures.) Try this doll and see if it works. Once he’s up and hopping around from the pain of imaginary pins in his ass toss the La-Z-Boy into the yard, call his brothers to haul him and the chair up and out, and change the locks. Then go on a nice long vacation and get reacquainted with yo’self. Let me know how it turns out.

All the best Sistah-friend!

P.S. Get yo’self a dog; he’ll be much better company than the dog you’ve been sleeping with for the past decade!

Bad Boyfriend Yoda Meme

I am discovering from talking to my girlfriends that there is nothing worse than loneliness—without a man or with one in your bed when he doesn’t love you anymore. I don’t think God ever intended our hearts to suffer like this. Cheers to the men who have done the right thing by their women. Shame on the ones who have not. You have no idea how much love, grace, companionship, and healing you are missing by playing the role of the asshole instead of the knight.

***

“Men are liars. We’ll lie about lying if we have to. I’m an algebra liar. I figure two good lies make a positive.”Tim Allen

You know your boyfriend (or husband) might be lying:

“[1] if he pauses before answering difficult questions . . .

[2] overuse of fillers such as ‘well, umm, ah, uh huh’

[3] He avoids eye contact and appears to blink more than usual

[4] He fidgets and shrugs “–Daily Mail by Bianca London*

“You don’t have to dumb down – you just have to find a clever, good, secure man. I’ve found a couple – I’ve been lucky – but it’s probably hard for everybody to find that true love of a good man.”Kimora Lee Simmons

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR? CHECK OUT MY WEBSITE: www.eleanortomczyk.com

REFERENCES

http://www.sheknows.com/love-and-sex/articles/808147/signs-hes-lying

*http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2607047/Could-asymmetrical-gestures-eye-flutter-reveal-hes-cheating-Lie-detection-expert-reveals-ten-signs-indicate-lying-you.html

http://www.whatdomenreallythink.com/howto/signs-boyfriend-is-lying.php

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1315697/George-Lopez-splits-wife-17-years–despite-given-kidney-life-saving-op.html

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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“Ain’t Nothin’ Like the Real Thing, Baby . . . .”

Do you know what I’ve discovered about this Valentine’s Day?  I got struck by Cupid’s arrow some 41 years ago and it was true love—go figure!   I am black, and he is white.  We met 7 years after the Supreme Court struck down the miscegenation laws across America via Loving vs Virginia.  We married 12 years after interracial marriage became legal in the United States.  (But even though the anti-miscegenation laws took effect in 1967, it took South Carolina until 1998 and Alabama until 2000 to get their acts together—and they did it by a mere 62% (SC) and 59% (AL) of the voters.)  Oh well, good thing WW (white and wonderful) and I went on about the business of building our lives and being outrageously happy without waiting for the naysayers and the racists to give us permission to love.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

WW and The Blogger loving life together when they were young

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WW and our babes (mutual admiration society)

WW and I owe a great deal of gratitude to Mildred and Richard Loving.  God knew what he was doing when he allowed the burden of overturning the miscegenation laws in America to be placed upon their backs.  They were simple country people who had grown up together and fallen in love.  They weren’t interested in brandishing a cause—they just loved each other.   When they married in DC where interracial unions were legal, they came back to their home in Virginia to start their lives together.  I have often tried to imagine what it was like when the white sheriff and his two deputies broke into the Loving’s home in the middle of the night while they were sleeping and dragged them out of their bed and put them in separate jail cells—tormenting Mrs. Loving with the threat of rape from other prisoners.  They pled guilty to “breaking the law” and were sentenced to one year in jail, but it was suspended for 25 years if they agreed to leave Virginia and never return together— leaving behind their home, their land, their parents, their friends, and their relatives.

Richard and Mildred Loving

Mildred and Richard Loving courtesy of http://www.laprogressive.com/prop-8-jim-crow-nuremberg-and-other-unjust-laws/

The trial judge of Virginia (Judge Leon Bazile) issued the following statement when asked to reconsider his judgment against the Lovings:

“Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And, but for the interference with his arrangement, there would be no cause for such marriage. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

When I read Judge Bazile’s statement, I wondered what type of marriage he had.  Was he happy?  Did he touch the soul of his wife like a deer panting after running rivers when it is with thirst?  Because, you see, WW and I have experienced that type of deep, deep love.  When I see the signs of the racists who equated the mixing of the races to communism or heralding the Anti-Christ’s reign of terror down on our country, it causes me to ponder how many of these men beat their wives, or how many of these people divorced each other, or even how many lived in cold silence as they forced themselves to simply co-exist until the end of their days?  How many of them listen for the garage door to open and feel a rush of excitement that their man or their woman has come home to them at the end of another day after 34 years?  How many of them go to dinner and never utter one word of conversation to each other because they have nothing in common?  Because you see, WW and I can’t shut up from sharing what we’ve experienced while we’ve been apart because we’re each other’s best friend and best listener.  We love many of the same things, and what we don’t love, we pretend that we do.  I wonder if the people in the picture below got marriage so perfect that they can now sit at the right hand of God and judge all others outside of their spectrum.

Race Mixing

Civil Rights Image Archives

It took the Lovings nine years to win their case to stay a married couple in Virginia.  In 1967 they prevailed and Chief Justice Warren issued this statement:

“’Marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival…. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not to marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.’

The Supreme Court condemned Virginia’s anti-miscegenation law as ‘designed to maintain White supremacy.’”—Wikipedia

***

The most romantic words I’ve ever heard were from the lips of Richard Loving on the HBO special just before the Supreme Court ruling when his lawyer asked if he had any message for the judges:

“Mr. Cohen, tell the court I love my wife!”

Interracial Marriage cartoon Kevin Sters

Kevin Siers/Cartoonist:  www.charlotteobserver.com

I am discovering what I’ve always known:  I love my husband, and I can’t imagine having lived life without him.  I would be half the person I am today.  Marvin Gaye was right when he sang:  “There ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby . . .” In the beginning of our marriage, people used to stare at us all the time and occasionally make cracks about our interracial status (“hey Zebras”).  But now when people of any race stare at this old couple quickly scooting towards our 70’s, they often ask how long we’ve been married, gasp at the answer, and then ask us our secret.  We used to throw two-word one-liners at them:  “it’s communication, it’s respect, it’s laughter, it’s prayer. . .”  But now we just say it is love, and the definition is I Corinthians 13:4-8.

LOVE

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.

Love cares more for others than for self.

Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.

Love doesn’t strut,

Doesn’t have a swelled head,

Doesn’t force itself on others,

Isn’t always “me first,”

Doesn’t fly off the handle,

Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,

Doesn’t revel when others grovel,

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,

Puts up with anything,

Trusts God always,

Always looks for the best,

Never looks back,

But keeps going to the end.

Love never dies.

***

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY, MY LUV!

THANK YOU RICHARD AND MILDRED LOVING—I CAN HARDLY WAIT TO CHAT WITH YOU IN HEAVEN!

I love You allvoices dot com

www.wallpapermania.eu

QUOTES FOR VALENTINE’S DAY

“Love is no game! It is no flowery softness! It is hard work-a quest that never ends. It demands everything from you-especially the truth. Only then does it yield rewards. -Cupid”Rick Riordan, The House of Hades

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”—Charles M. Schulz

“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.”—Thomas Merton Author and Husband

Let us grow old together because living well is the best revenge!

More about how WW and I met in my new book, Monsters’ Throwdown at Amazon and Kindle

REFERENCES

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/06/us/06loving.html

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
26 Comments

Posted by on February 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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I DO, I DO!

Blush and yellow Hibiscus

A glimpse of E. Tomczyk’s garden | photo by “WW” Tomczyk

Do you know what I’ve discovered?  It is just days before my thirty-forth wedding anniversary when I’ll celebrate being married to the most amazing human being I’ve ever met:  WW (a.k.a. “White and Wonderful”).  So it seems like a good time to take a couple of weeks off and hang out with my man and revel in those gorgeous blue eyes—contemplating how blessed I am to know such a man of integrity, strength, and courage.  I want to celebrate love with a man who has spent our entire married life helping to heal all the wounds my childhood haters inflicted.  To do this, I will need to step away from the news (Farewell, M. Bachmann: there is a God and you just got schooled by him), step away from my blog, and tune out all my trolls.   I plan to sit amongst my flowers with my man, read some books, drink lots of wine, thank God I’m alive, and work on my memoir—especially the love story of WW and me which is the book’s last chapter and rivals anything Nicholas Sparks has ever written (yeah, Baby!).  And then I’ll swing back in a couple of weeks to pick up where I’ve left off and see if my readers have kept out of trouble.    In the meantime, here are a few thoughts on marriage.

Anniversary Interracial Marriage

Cartoonist:  Kevin Siers | The Charlotte Observer

What’s your secret?  That is the most commonly asked question I get when people hear that I’ve been over-the-moon, happily hitched for thirty-four years (plus six dating years) to a white dude.   Anyone who knew me in my youth knew that my mantra was that I would never marry someone who was white, because “there was nothin’ no white man could do for me.”  (Good grief—the arrogance of youth still makes me shudder!)  In previous years when asked what I thought made a successful interracial marriage, I’d say all sorts of cliché bullshit that first popped into my mind without giving it much thought:

“Communication”

“Loving God”

“Weekly date nights”

“Great sex”

“Must have things in common”

“Being each other’s best friends”

“Learning how to pick your battles”

“Being a good listener”

Early on there was also the Herculean task of ignoring the racist naysayers when they tried to thwart our marriage by saying stupid shit like:  “A robin can marry a dolphin, but where will they live and what about the children—they won’t be fish or fowl!”

Loving day wedding bands

The children (ages 29 and 30) did just fine—they neither have flippers nor wings—and WW and I didn’t have to summer in a nest at the top of a tall tree or winter beneath the waves of the Caribbean Sea to survive.  While the list above contains some truths about sustaining a marriage, none of them were ever any guarantee that our marriage would form into the rock that it became.  I’ve known Christian couples who claimed Jesus as their Lord and Savior every other breath, could quote the Bible backwards and forwards, went to church whenever the doors were open, were religious about a date night every Friday, preached against Gay marriage as a sin and a detriment to heterosexual marriage, and yet they were the nastiest piece of work toward each other that I’ve ever had the unfortunate opportunity to witness.

Somehow, being at peace with the concept that one has found the right person who aligns with one’s spiritual and aspirational goals is half the battle.  But making damn sure that one is truly in love with the individual and not “in love with being in love” is the hardest plumb line to adjust to—especially for women.  Between our little girl dress-up fantasies, our Cinderella and Prince Charming fairy tales that we’ve grown up with all our lives, and now the “keeping up with the Joneses” Pinterest, women can get pretty screwed up when it comes to what is real or what would make a great “pinned by______” on the photo-sharing website when it comes to getting married and staying married.

Anniversary marriage thelaughinghousewife dot wordpress dot com

Cartoon from:  www.thelaughinghousewife.wordpress.com

I am discovering that I do know (after 33 years) what makes a good marriage go the distance—no matter who you are, and even if you’re a robin who married a dolphin:   It is grace, respect, and a sense of humor.

Grace:  to be able to accept the things about each other that drive us nuts without developing a nervous tic whenever our spouse’s peccadillos emerge.  Grace doesn’t work without forgiveness and therein lays the stumbling block to it—grace takes daily exercise.

Respect:  to never, ever, ever cross the line of contempt, disdain, rage, or abuse when it comes to dealing with our lovers.  Those are flesh-eating zombies and very difficult to survive.  But if it should happen, having the grace to immediately, and genuinely, ask forgiveness, along with the grace to do whatever it takes to never cross those boundaries again.  No amount of love can keep a marriage together without an equal amount of respect.

A sense of humor:  the ability not to take oneself too seriously—about anything!  The ability to laugh uproariously—in the moment—about our own imperfect humanity!

Anniversary humor

Cartoonist:  Walt Handelman|Newsday

“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.”—Friedrich Nietzsche

“Every good relationship, especially marriage, is based on respect. If it’s not based on respect, nothing that appears to be good will last very long.”—Amy Grant

“People always fall in love with the most perfect aspects of each other’s personalities. Who wouldn’t? Anybody can love the most wonderful parts of another person. But that’s not the clever trick. The really clever trick is this:  Can you accept the flaws? Can you look at your partner’s faults honestly and say, ‘I can work around that. I can make something out of it.’? Because the good stuff is always going to be there, and it’s always going to pretty and sparkly, but the crap underneath can ruin you.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage

“A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity. The order varies for any given year.”—Paul Sweeney

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E. and “WW” Tomczyk| Photo: Tomczyk Archives

WW and I:  many anniversary celebrations ago . . . a little more hair, a little less “fluffy-nutter,” but very much in love.

Love Birds

E. and “WW” Tomczyk| Photo: C. Tomczyk

Ebony and Ivory:  34 years and counting . . . a little less hair, a lot more ass, but still very, very much in love.  Thank you Loving v. Virginia (Mildred Jeter, a black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man) for paving the way.  WW and I are eternally grateful to you and I know you cheered us on in that great cloud of witnesses!

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
19 Comments

Posted by on June 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Say WHAT?!

Do you know what I’ve discovered?   I need a break!  My mind is about to explode (again!).  Keeping abreast of the news to stay informed as a blogger affords me more stress than my little, little brain can consistently handle, and I often need to get away—if only just in my mind.  Not to mention the fact that this blogging stuff is so much harder than anyone lets on.

When a would-be writer first starts the task of telling the world her innermost feelings, she naïvely thinks the world will just be waiting with bated breath for her latest “mot juste.”  Not only isn’t the world chomping at the bit to read my her crap (although, I shouldn’t complain—I’m doing better than most), it takes a lot of reading to stay informed and not sound like an idiot.

So, this week, I needed to go to a place to get fresh perspective on the inhabitants of the Earth who are coming across as mostly good-for-nothing-ne’er-do-wells as was demonstrated by the tone-deaf NRA who will probably destroy any formative gun control, a crazy North Korean who wants to nuke us and take over the world, and the alleged mass murderer, Kevin Gosnell, who operated an illegal, unregulated abortion clinic for years and committed mass murder against full-term babies and at least one mother in the most barbaric, horrific manner.  (IMHO: this is not a pro-choice or pro-life issue—this is a basic human rights issue.  Why have we liberals been so quiet about this evil man’s barbarism?)   Humans are the custodians of the Earth and we don’t seem to be doing very well.  As a blogger, I’m losing the creativity to write about human meanness in such a way that it pricks the hearts of those who stumble across my blog and brings about compassion and a desire to love one’s fellowman as one’s self.

blogging fame horsey

Cartoon by David Horsey | www.latimes.com

We jumped 35 degrees and skipped from winter to summer (it is 95 degrees at this writing) in my area this week, and when I went for a walk to clear my head, I started seeing all sorts of crazy animal activity unnerved by the sudden hike in temperatures.  Woodpeckers were frantically pounding away at the siding on my house trying to get in to build a nest (convinced they were behind schedule, I’m sure).  Hundreds of sparrows were trying to find hiding places in foliage that hadn’t had time to make its appearance.  The sparrows knew that the 17-year-cicada invasion (whose entry cue is a temperature of 65 degrees), would now arrive early before the birds had set up condos in the trees, and the squirrels just looked at me with a “Say What?!   I think all the animals thought I could answer for the erratic behavior of the weather.  While I walked, I meditated on the biblical character of Job who was pretty pissed off at his fellow humans at one time (I’m sure he was the Earth’s original ranting blogger, or maybe it was Jeremiah with his Lamentations, but my old age is causing these details to slip).  Job was pretty hacked off about the way his friends were treating him, and the state of affairs in his hometown (marauders, mayhem, chaos, loss of his business and his entire family, giant boils on his skin, and people generally getting on his nerves telling him that all the mayhem was his fault).  At one point Job lashes out at his so-called friends and tells them how they can ascertain the truth about life since they don’t believe him and can’t seem to see it with their own eyes:

“Ask the animals, and they will teach you,

Or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you,

Or speak to the Earth, and it will teach you,

Or let the fish in the sea inform you.”

Aha! I thought.  I will go and speak to the animals and see what I can learn from them about the human race.  I shall send my alter-ego (the Dalai Mama) to interview a sector of the animal population that can best shed light on life—our closest relatives—the primates.

Bonobo couple finbarr and oreilly photo msn

Bonobo Couple | photo by Finbarr and O’Reilly/Reuters via MSN

******

INTERVIEW WITH CLAUDE AND LYDIA BONOBO

By Dalai Mama at DM-TV | Location: The Democratic Republic of the Congo

DM-TV:   “Mr. and Mrs. Bonobo, how y’all doin’?  I’m so glad to finally meet you.  Are you ready for your Dalai Mama TV interview?  Excuse my ignorance, but do you know I never heard of your kind, and I’m sure most of my audience never heard of you either.   It’s not your fault; it’s just that America’s educational system isn’t the best these days.  I barely knew where Cincinnati was when I was growing up in The Cleve, let alone, the Congo.  But I did do some research on you recently,* and I discovered your official name is Pan paniscus—affectionately known as the pygmy chimpanzee.  That’s so precious.”

LYDIA:    “Actually, dear, we are a close cousin of the chimpanzee, but they are much more quarrelsome than we are, and many of them are extremely boorish and don’t play well with others—much like you humans.”

CLAUDE:  “Now Lydia, don’t be rude, sweetheart.”

LYDIA:    “Sorry, darling, I was just trying to point out that we Bonobos have a reputation of ‘make love, not war.’  The Google says that hippy humans tried this in the 60s but it disintegrated into drugs and chaos.”

DM-TV:   “Yeah, we got the sex part kinda right, but we still kept killing each other.  Is it true that you share 98 percent of our DNA, ‘cause that just boggles my mind, child.”

LYDIA:    “So, we’ve been told, but we are way ahead of you humans on a few levels.  Did you know that female Bonobos rule over the male Bonobos?  We solved the equality issue a long time ago—we just simply declared, “Girls Rule!”  The only other species that do this are the spotted hyena and the Madagascar lemur.   I’m the leader of this tribe, so if you need anything, just let me know.  Would you like something to eat—a banana, perhaps?  I’ve heard that you humans are still wrestling with the concept of female leadership.  Is it true you’ve never had a woman leader of your country?”

DM-TV:   “Yeah, it’s true—maybe next time.   For some reason, women continue to be a threat to the male leadership in my country as well as so many other cultures.  Girl, it’s just insane!   Tell me something—do y’all share your food so that no Bonobo goes hungry (this banana is delicious, by the way)?  And do you provide childcare for the entire group?

LYDIA:   “Yes and yes.   Women are in charge of the food and we will usually share with our immediate family and those we don’t know. Every once and awhile we’ll swat a male Bonobo away from the food if the babies haven’t eaten.   All Bonobo babies are provided for—no matter who the parents are.  You humans don’t share your food or provide universal childcare?  That seems a little primitive, don’t you think?  No Bonobo dies from hunger.  We’re dying out, but we’re dying because of your human wars and rumors of wars.  We used to be 100,000 strong in the Congo; now we are down to a mere 5,000 Bonobos. And since we only exist in this area of the world where there’s always humans destroying the jungle and poaching our friends and relatives, we’re on the endangered species list.  I’ve got to admit that our daily existence can get really stressful due to you humans.  The older Bonobos are pretty Zen about it all, but the younger ones (you know teenagers; you can’t tell them anything) are furious about the whole situation and can get quite aggressive from time to time.

Evolvers Anonymous Piraro

Cartoon by Dan Piraro | www.bizarro.com

DM-TV:   “Speaking of stress, I read somewhere that Bonobos use sex as tension relief, as an expression of goodwill, and to enhance bonding.  Is it also true that the Kama Sutra is required reading for all the Bonobos?”

LYDIA:    “That’s an urban legend, girlfriend.  Don’t believe everything you hear or read on the Internet.  Unlike the crude chimpanzees, who have no creativity whatsoever when it comes to having sex, the Bonobos perform sex in every position you can possibly imagine and then some, including the missionary position which the chimpanzees have still yet to master (I told you they were crude).  We Bonobos do mouth-to-mouth kissing, oral sex, penis-fencing, and G-G rubbing just to name a few of our Bonobo-like “Kama Sutra” acts.  We also have homosexual Bonobos, but that is not unique to us.  I read the other day on the Google that 1,500 species have homosexual couplings.”

DM-TV:   “Holy Mary, Mother of God, I don’t even want to know what “penis-whatever” and “G-G (oh my God)” is!!  You Bonobos sho’ know how to get yo’ freak on!”  I’m way too old to be hearin’ this!

LYDIA:     “He, he, heeee . . . are you blushing, dear?  Look Honey, the human is embarrassed!”

CLAUDE:  “Mother, stop messing with our guest; you can see she’s beet red even underneath her hairless brown body.   Is there anything else, you’d like to know Mrs. Dalai?”

DM-TV:    “Um . . . um . . . no, don’t you think that’s enough?  I need a bar of soap to wash out my brain and my eyes as it is.  Oh yeah, I did have one more question (God may this be a safe one!)  How do you socialize?  Do y’all play games?

LYDIA:    “That’s one of our best assets, Dalai Baby!  Playing together is how we engage in creativity, how we bond, how we problem-solve, and most of all, how we avoid conflict.  What are you writing so furiously, dear?”

DM-TV:  “A note to our President:  Dear President Obama—‘Please send the legislative branch to the Congo for a teaching session by the Bonobos on game-playing as conflict resolution and team building—ASAP!  I think our leaders will be able to learn from the Bonobos if they will just shut up and listen.  P.S.  The Bonobos are a tad X-rated.’”

Bonobos at play Ted 2011 thinkfun dot com

Primatologist and TED Fellow Isabel Behncke Izquierdo show how a wild bonobo ape society in the Congo learns from constantly playing at Ted “Think Fun” 2011.  

***

I am discovering that we still have so much to learn about the Earth and the animals that we’ve been given stewardship over—not to mention how much we need to learn and respect about one another.  It seems to me that we all need to slow down, stop the madness of warring against each other and raping of the land and its inhabitants, and listen to what God’s creatures are showing us about who we are and what we need to do to become truly human (that’s a lot of “ands” but you know what I mean).  I personally believe that the entire Earth and the heavens speak to who we are and to the glory of God.  We are more than our politics, the limitations of our religions, and the narrow-mindedness of our experiences.  Let’s all take a chill pill and go talk to the animals this week.  We just might learn how to be human.

***

                                Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor.”–Thomas Jefferson

“I ask people why they have deer heads on their walls. They always say because it’s such a beautiful animal. There you go. I think my mother is attractive, but I have photographs of her.”—Ellen DeGeneres

 “Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are, and what they ought to be.”—William Hazlitt

“Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem.”― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Animal Adorable Sea Lion and  Allison Williams Girls thefw dot com

“Talk to the Animals”: Adorable Sea Lion and Allison Williams from “Girls”| www.fw.com

*

REFERENCE MATERIAL

* “An exclusive Look at Bonobos: The Left Bank Ape” by David Quammen from National Geographic, March 2013

*http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2013/04/animal_personalities_apes_rodents_birds_dogs_cats_and_hyenas_have_animalities.html

*http://cda.morris.umn.edu/~meeklesr/bonobo.html

http://www.bonobo.org/Bonobos are an endangered species.  Please check out the Bonobo Conservation website to learn more about them and how to participate in saving them from poachers, loggers, and agricultural encroachment.

Bonobo joke borwn dot edu laboratory primate letter

BONOBOS AT PLAY | www.brown.edu | laboratory primate letter

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
12 Comments

Posted by on April 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Epic Valentine Fails

Do you know what I’ve discovered?    When I die and sail off into the great unknown, the first thing I’m going to do is look up Eve (of Adam and Eve fame) and kick her ass because of the “curse” and the gross birthing method women got saddled with.  I mean what woman has ever truthfully thought that that monthly plague we get was worth its hassle, or what woman wouldn’t exchange the excruciating pain of childbirth for the power men seem to have been endowed with from Jump Street.  In a fair world we should have been able to switch roles halfway through our lifetimes—kind of like musical chairs.  Maybe it would have been negotiable.  Who knows?  But we never got a chance to find out.  All that chick Eve  had to do was follow the game plan; but nooooooo, she was all:

EVE:       “Eat the apple Adam.  If you do we’ll be like God and we’ll know everything.  What’s the worst that can happen to us, Adam?” 

Adam and Eve Mistake garyharbo dot com

The second person whose ass I’m going to whup is Esther Howland, the mother of the American Valentine card.  The fluke thing that made Esther rich in 1840 was the spawn of all that is evil about Valentine’s Day in 2013.   It was just our luck that Esther was the daughter of a stationery store owner and she once got a frilly lace-embossed valentine card from Victorian England.  She was all:

ESTHER:  “Faaathaw, is not this lace-infused, linen-embossed, over-the-top valentine’s card simply marvelous?  What say you loan me some of your stationery goods and I’ll make every American woman lust after this manifestation of “true love” forever and forever.  My Valentine cards will be a tribute to the purest form of love and the start of a Valentine revolution!”

That was then:  1840

Valentine Esther Howland Design

And this is what we’ve descended into now . . . 2013

Valetine Teddy Gift timesunion dot com

valentine-teddy-gift-timesunion-dot-com

So 173 years later, lovers (men especially) must turn into consummate event planners for one day, lovers must become psychics who can accurately guess every whim of their beloved, and checking accounts must be depleted and drained to feed the restaurant, flower, candy, and hotel industries (worth about 18 billion
dollars) once Cupid’s arrow strikes its target.  The Valentine fails are legendary (I’ve had a few of my own).  Nothing ever turns out like we’ve planned:  a few Valentine scenarios will be better than anticipated but most will be worse, because shit always happens when you least expect it, because we’re humans.  The industry manipulations are too entrenched to throw them all overboard and start from scratch but guidance is definitely
needed.  I’m old and I know shit, so over the weekend I set up a “Dalai Mama Epic Valentine Fails website” to take questions from the Valentine road-kill in need of a word or two of wisdom about avoiding epic Valentine Day fails.

Valentine Flowers and candy zazzle dot com Valentine’s Day Card for the Clueless

VALENTINE NOVICE #1: “Dalai Mama, I’ve met a girl I really like.  I’ve never done the whole Valentine production before but I thought, since this girl is so special, I’d rent a limo, take her to a great restaurant, and see where the night ends—if you know what I mean.  But there’s a problem, even though I started looking for restaurant reservations two weeks ago, everything from Manny’s Steak House to White Castle is booked, and no limo company within 200 miles will book me a reservation for under $200 an hour.  Also, did I mention that I just got my first job and I don’t have much money?  Can you help me or am I headed into an epic Valentine fail?”  Signed, Young and in love in Minnesota

DALAI MAMA:  “Of course I ‘know what you mean,’ Val Novice #1—I’m old but I’m not dead!   Yes, you are headed for an epic fail.  Only amateurs go to restaurants on Valentine’s Day.  An average dinner that would normally cost $70 will be sold to you for $150, and the food will be mediocre at best (a restaurant that normally serves a modestly priced fish dish will suddenly only serve high-end steaks or overpriced pasta with lobster and a mediocre red sauce that tastes suspiciously like canned marinara).  All the tables will be pushed together and maximum seating capacity completely ignored so that the restaurant can make up for its January slump, and every word you utter will be heard and judged by the elbow-bumping couples to your left, right, front, and rear. Not to mention that the noise from all the chatter will be cacophonous, and the agitated wait staff will serve you in such a hurried manner that you’ll complete your entire romantic meal in just under 55 minutes so that the 20 other couples can be rushed in to take your place and experience their wind-whipped Valentine dining experience.”

Dalai Mama’s Suggestion

Turn your living space into a restaurant and cook for your cutie (clean your apartment first—especially the toilet).  If you can’t cook, arrange for the local grocery store to prepare the meal, pick it up at the appropriate time and follow nuking instructions (throw away the grocery store bags to maintain the illusion).  Candles, romantic music, dim lighting, no old sock smells, and easy-going and funny conversation will go a long way to your final goal—if you know what I mean.  All women love a man with a sense of humor.  But if you’re humorless, well, I don’t know what to tell you—I can’t help you there.  P.S. If you really want to do the whole limo scenario, have one of your buddies put on a black suit and cap, and pick your girl up with you in the back seat carrying one rose.  (If you can’t afford a dozen roses during the hyped Valentine season, approximately $150-$200, one rose is always better than nothing.)

valentines catalog thong toilette dash humor dot com

“Valentine lingerie”|image from toilette-humor.com

VALENTINE NOVICE #2:  “Dalai Mama:  I’ve been married to my wife for thirty-eight years.   Romance has never been our thing, but we almost got divorced out of shear boredom last year.  So I started taking the little blue pill, and I was thinking maybe it was time to spice things up a little bit this Valentine’s Day—if you know what I mean.   I was hoping to purchase my wife some sexy lingerie from one of the catalogues that recently came to the house, but it is hard to tell what she’d like.  I thought I’d better get some advice from a woman who is of similar age to my wife which is why I’m writing.  Oh, I forgot to mention that the wife is not the size she was when we first married.  What do you think:  am I headed for an epic Valentine fail?”  Signed: Looking to get a rise in Pennsylvania

DALAI MAMA:   “Dear Val Novice #2:  If you do this, I promise you that your wife will hate you forever.  Since when did you become an expert in women’s sizes?   You say she’s put on a few pounds?  This is an epic Valentine fail waiting to happen.  No man should ever buy woman lingerie, ever—no matter what her size!  That catalogue you received is a “sucker’s catalogue” trying to get you to waste your money on a multi-million dollar Victoria Secret’s industry.  They will sell you anything, including thong underwear that doesn’t even look that good on the heroine-chic model sporting it.  I bet you that it’s edible, right?  (Can I let you in on a little secret?  That shit sounds better than it really is.  Trust me!)  If the lingerie is too big, your wife will think you think she’s huge and it will make her sad (and you won’t be getting’ nothin’ that night), if it is too small, she’ll think you’ve been watching porn and she will kill you.  (And why does everyone keep asking me if “I know what they mean”—I’m not a sexless idiot!)  What if we switched the idea to another ass?  What if your wife bought your chubby little droopy ass some sexy underwear she saw on David Beckham in an underwear ad?  How would you respond?  (Never mind, don’t answer that; men are generally clueless when it comes to how they look in inappropriate underwear.)”

Valentine chocolates instead cartoonstock dot com fran cartoon

Image from cartoonstock.com

Dalai Mama’s Suggestion

Don’t do it—don’t ever do it.  Give your wife a gift card and let her buy what she thinks is sexy.  Besides, now that you’re taking the little blue pill, methinks she could be wearing a burlap sack and you’d still be dancing around the house singing, “Let’s get it on!”  Good luck!

Valentine single source remember dash neverlosehope

Source:  remember-neverlosehope.com

VALENTINE NOVICE #3:  “Dalai Mama, I HATE VALENTINE’S DAY!   I hate it, I hate it, I hate it!  I can’t believe you’ve made my pain even worse by doing an entire blog about Valentine’s Day.  This ersatz “holiday” cuts through me like a knife.  (Did I mention that I hate it?)  Nothing makes me feel like such a loser than everybody showing off at the office by getting flowers from their boyfriends and husbands.  For the past five years or so I’ve been sending myself flowers just so I won’t feel like such a dork, but this year I’m not even going to bother.  I am what I am—alone, and I’ll die alone.  Most of my friends are engaged or married and the only guys I know are gay.  (Did I mention that I hate you for reminding me that I’m alone?)  Signed: 3rd Wheel in Toronto

Dear Val Novice #3:  “Are you through feeling sorry for yourself?  ‘Cause the Dalai Mama don’t play that shit.  Life is what you make it and if it gives you lemons then you go out and make goddamn lemonade.  Dalai Mama didn’t marry her man until she was in her thirties, and “White and wonderful” (WW) was worth the wait.  In fact, had I married any one of the jerks I met before WW, I shudder to think what my life would be like today.  Have you seen Valentine’s Day by Gary Marshall?  It’s an awful movie, but the scene worth watching and emulating is the “I hate Valentine’s Day” scene where all the unattached girls meet for dinner with a piñata heart and beat the shit out of it with a baseball bat as they recount their horrid past relationships.  Excellent therapy!  So grab your single friends—guys, gals, straight, gay, divorced, widowed—and get all dressed up, and cook a great dinner for each other and then pulverize your own version of a piñata heart.  And then declare your urban family love for each other—being there to watch each other’s back no matter what is needed.  I guarantee you that Valentine’s Day will work for you and not against you.  P.S.  It helps if everybody gets a little bit drunk!

Valentine Day Movie party scene

Jessica Biel in “Valentine’s Day”|Warner Bros. Pictures

I am discovering that we are all the victims of the money-grubbing Valentine industry.  Our minds have also been poisoned by storytellers like Nicholas Sparks and Hollywood’s formulaic romantic comedies (boy sees girl, girl sees boy, both fall madly in love, both fall out of love, both run languidly through the wheat field/airport/city
street/along the beach declaring their undying love in the last five minutes of the movie and live happily ever after.  Life is just not like that.  Relationships are up and down, in and out.  Romance is real but is only meant to be a beckoning call to attract each other and sexually connect us.  Once that has happened, then the real work
begins—the “growing in love” part.

The romantic love we feel toward the opposite sex is probably one extra help from God to bring you together, but that’s it. All the rest of it, the true love, is the test.”—Joan Chen

The sooner we untangle ourselves from the commercialism of Valentine’s Day and search for what makes us happy as individuals and what makes those who love us happy, the better off we’ll be as people and lovers.  Trust me—it has nothing to do with money and over-the-top treacle romance.  It has more to do with the “c” word:  commitment.

Valentine growing old together dave granlund cartoon

My parents circulate the room hand in hand . . . Soul mates. They really call themselves that, which makes sense, because I guess they are . . . They have no harsh edges with each other, no spiny conflicts, they ride through life like conjoined jellyfish—expanding and contracting instinctively, filling each other’s spaces liquidly.  Making it look easy, the soul-mate thing.  People say children from broken homes have it hard, but the children of charmed marriages have their own particular challenges.”—by Gillian Flynn from Gone Girl

 “True love doesn’t happen right away; it’s an ever-growing process. It develops after you’ve gone through many ups and downs, when you’ve suffered together, cried together, laughed together.”Ricardo Montalban

  “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”—Lao Tzu

 “I don’t understand why Cupid was chosen to represent Valentine’s Day.  When I think about romance, the last thing on my mind is a short, chubby toddler coming at me with a weapon.” —Author Unknown

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Posted by on February 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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