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WELCOME TO THE SEVENTIES!

Do you know what I discovered this weekend?  I TURNED 70 FREAKIN’ YEARS OLD!

How Old Begin of Blog

WTF?!  Who and what gobbled up my life, and how did it happen so quickly?  It feels as if I was 19 just yesterday.  What the hell happened?  I woke up on June 9th with a 19-year-old’s spirit in a 70-year-old’s body that said, “Let’s go, go, go, go, go, Girl” but my old-woman body instantly responded:  “Oh, hell to the no, no, no, no, no, Girl”!!  (I had done some extra cardio the day before and everything on my body—including my earlobes and my nipples—was writhing in pain.)  But no one knew how to comfort me.  Part of the problem is that I don’t look 70 (thank God!), therefore, absolutely no one has sympathy for me.  I look good—owing to the fact that “Black don’t crack,” expensive make-up, and an unlimited supply of fashionable wigs.  I can still see well, hear well, walk several miles a day, and lead a coup against racist assholes when they try to take over my community.

I’ve started working on my fourth book, and I’m thinking of going on tour as a storyteller (move over David Sedaris).  So what’s my problem?  Why do I feel like I want to break out into a drunken sloppy rendition of a Frank Sinatra song:   “And now, the end is near, and so I face the final curtain…?”

Facing Death Stephane Peray Thailand

Cartoon used by permission: Stephane Peray, Thailand

I called a nonagenarian (my mentor of 54 years), and I told her I didn’t want to turn 70 years old. In fact, I was truly in a funk about it.  She replied:  “What is your alternative?”  Then she continued with her kick in the ass:  “I’m 90 years old.  I can’t see, I can’t hear without hearing aids, I can’t walk without a walker or a cane, I can no longer eat salads because they give me gas—but praise God, my mind is sharp as a tack, and for that I give him glory.  Otherwise, I’d kill to be 70 again—I was still driving then!  

“If you had told me when I met you at 16 and I was 36 that I’d still be alive to smack you upside your head and tell you to get over yourself as I did when you were young, I would have laughed in your face.  But here I am, on the phone with you, having to pee for the 5th time in an hour because my bladder no longer functions at this age.  So before I rush off (more like waddle off) to the ladies room, here’s the 911 about old age:  Lord willing, you’ve still got another decade of get-up-and-get-to-it-ness (although, none of us are guaranteed another minute of life past this moment).  It’s between 80 – 85 years old when the body starts to really drag you toward the dust, and no amount of wishing and hoping will curtail it.  All most of us manage to do during that time is get up, eat, poop, nap, remember the old days (if we’re lucky), rinse, and repeat.  Today, I suggest you put one foot in the front of the other, take each day at a time, don’t moan over what you’ve lost, but celebrate what you have left with every ounce of your being because none of us are guaranteed any tomorrows.  It’s all about the attitude, Little Girl.  Now, I’ve got to go pee.  Love you, Doll!”

what the hell happened

Birthday Card for the Aging

My mentor was right, of course.  I couldn’t let my pity party continue. Even though I felt I hadn’t yet reached all the goals I had set in life, one conversation with my kids helped me see that I had done more than I thought, and they admired me for it.  I had conquered internal demons as well as external ones.  I was a survivor of abuse—more than a survivor—a conqueror!  I was a mentor to both women and men.  According to my kids, they still see me reaching for the stars as if I were 19, and it blows them away.  They see me as someone who refuses to put up with religious stupidity and is not afraid to say “no” when others try and steer me off my true course in life.  They see me as someone who is not afraid to speak her mind.  They still see me as a fighter—still a badass in their minds with a sweet touch of Jesus.

Throat Punch Someone

Most of all, my kids see me as the love of their father’s life, and they say that we are their life’s aspiration.

On my birthday, 39 years ago, I gave myself a fabulous b-day present:  my man. Six years after the Supreme Court passed Loving v. Virginia, which invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage, I saw my future husband at an audition for a play, and it was intrigue at first sight.  A month later we went on our third date, and he knew he wanted to marry me.  Twelve years after the passing of Loving v. Virginia, my man and I tied the knot in front of an audience of hundreds of well-wishers in a cow barn turned into a hippy church.  It was the best choice either of us have ever made—law or no law.  When you’re a baked potato and you find your stick of butter, you lock that shit down!  Happy Birthday to me, and Happy Anniversary to the Tomczyk us.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The author and her husband (June 9, 1979): Photo credit—Bill Clarke

Anniversary pic

The author and her husband: 39TH ANNIVERSARY SELFIE

Est 1979

Best 39th wedding anniversary present ever

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES ABOUT GROWING OLD (ER)

“To keep the heart unwrinkled, to be hopeful, kindly, cheerful, reverent—that is to triumph over old age.”Thomas Bailey Aldrich

“While I am in this world, I am resolved that no vexation shall put me out of temper if I can possibly command myself. Even old age, which is making strides towards me, shall not prevail to make me peevish.”—Samuel Adams

“When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory.”—Friedrich Nietzsche

 “Old age is no place for sissies.”Bette Davis

***

THE AUTHOR’S LATEST BOOK:  “The Fetus Chronicles:  Podcasts From my Miseducated Self” is on sale now at Amazon!

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

 WANT TO HEAR THE AUTHOR’S LATEST INTERVIEW?  Check out the podcast interview with Leo Brown: http://breadboxmedia.podbean.com/e/what-if-it-is-true-can-you-find-faith-in-darkness/ 

***

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 June 13, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED

IMP. NOTE:  Author is taking a break.  Last blog until July 12th!

Do you know what I discovered this week? Within the month of June, my husband (WW, a.k.a. “White and Wonderful”) had a minor operation, we sold a house and bought a new house, my witch of a doctor refused to turn over my medical records to move with me so I filed a legal complaint against her, I launched a 2nd book (Fleeing Oz) and reworked my website to support that book. I am launching an advertising campaign, while trying to maintain a humorous blog (getting not so funny by the minute), and I am turning 67 on the same day I celebrate my 36th wedding anniversary with the love of my life (I got married on my birthday). I am also trying not to have a heart attack!

stressed meme

In the midst of all this higher than normal stress level, I thought it would be a good idea to buy a couple of items of outdoor furniture online for my lovely new home, have them sent to me in the old house, so the movers could load them along with the rest of the household goods and plant them nicely on my new screened in porch and deck. If I do say so myself, I have exquisite taste and I went right to the outdoor rich-bitch furniture store catalogue. I picked out a charming porch set consisting of one dark wicker/aluminum couch, two love seats with ottomans, one rather large coffee table, and an expansive patio set with six “rocking” chairs, a massive stone-carved table, and an eleven-foot umbrella. Did I mention that the wicker set was offset by copious “simply-to-die-for” sky-blue cushions, topped off by a shameful overindulgence of floral throw pillows? All I had to do was convince my husband that this was a necessity for the new house. But that was the problem. WW was in no mood to hear about me wanting to spend more money after what it cost to sell our old house and purchase our new one.

Now normally, WW is a very generous man, but there are times when he becomes quite parsimonious—a dyed-in-the-wool Ricky Ricardo, and I become (out of necessity) a “crazy, conniving, lost her marbles” chocolate Lucille Ball when he starts to worry about the bills and ties a knot in the purse strings. During those situations, desperate times have to call for desperate means by moi.  After 36 years I always know how to get what I want because WW has a weakness: if you get it on sale—whether you need it or not—he’ll acquiesce. (I could buy a mink coat to wear to Saudi Arabia in the middle of a heat wave if I got it on sale for 60-75% off.)

Lucille Ball and Ricky

MOI:      Hey Babe? [The wife has waited until the husband is preoccupied with reading the news on his iPad.]

WW:      Hum?

MOI:      You know, our new house has such a lovely, HUGE deck and that great screened in porch; wouldn’t it be great if we got some new furniture to make the deck and porch just pop? I mean, wouldn’t you just love to mix up some gin and tonics and sit back in cushioned rocking chairs while we gaze out over the nature preserve that our deck overlooks?

WW:      What happened to our old furniture?

MOI:      That’s just it—it’s oooooollldddd! Besides, it’s gone. I gave it to the Junk Man—I paid him to take it away.

WW:      You did what? You gave away our great furniture? That furniture was still good. I had just broken in the seat cushions to just where I like them to cup my butt. There is no “testing, testing, testing” as I ease into my spot; I had broken the cushions in so that I just aim my butt to the general location and it guides itself in like a heat-seeking missile. We could have used that deck furniture until Jesus came back, and it would have been fine by me.

MOI:      Seriously, Dude? That furniture was sooooo ghetto. I can’t go living around White folks in that gated community you’re moving me to looking like I’m on welfare. I’ve got a rep to maintain. I’m pretty sure our outdoor furniture is the reason Jesus is tarrying—he’ll come back when he has something decent to sit on.  Take a look at the gorgeous furniture sets I want from Showoff Magazine—the mag for people who have more money than God!

WW:      Uh-huh, and that’s not us. This furniture costs thousands of dollars. You need to sell a hell of a lot more books, Cutie, if you want to get this because there is no budget for that kind of extravagance.

MOI:      Humph. What was that quote you told me about from the retirement seminar at work?  “Money is in motion when life is in transition.”

WW:      I knew I was going to rue the day I ever told you that saying. Yes, we are in transition but our bank account cannot move too much in the downward direction or we’ll have to come out of retirement. Can you say “Fixed Income” twenty times front and back—it works either way.

MOI:      Well, what if I could find what I wanted at a cheaper price—say 60-75% off?

WW:      Really . . . 60 to 75% off? I’m listening.  [The wife looks into the camera with a wry smile as if to say to the audience, “What did I tell you?”]

MOI:      I found the same porch and deck sets at our local big box store with free delivery!

WW:      Yeah, what’s the catch?

MOI:      No catch. Just “some assembly required,” [The wife says in a soto voce manner] which I’m sure a man as brilliant as you will have no trouble putting together. The way the description reads, there will probably be no more than two boxes—tops!

. . . AND THEN THE FURNITURE ARRIVED . . .

(This is how I imagined my lovely furniture would arrive . . .)

USPS NEWS CONSUMER AFFAIRS

Photo credit: USPS News Consumer Affairs

This is something like how my furniture did arrive (in about 20 different boxes—crushed, torn, and open) delivered by two “fresh off the boat” Africans, barely able to speak English who kept saying over my screams, “LADY, WHAT DE PROBLEM? No worries. Boxes a little broken, but hey, if problem, call us back, we take away, bring you others. Happens all the time with us. It’s okay? It’s all good. Sign here. We go now.”

Delivery Packages

Photo Credit: CBS http://www.newyork.cbslocal.com

I was standing in the garage trying to figure out how to camouflage my 20 crushed, mangled, and dilapidated boxes of furniture so that my husband wouldn’t have a heart attack when he saw them, when I heard his footsteps in the driveway as he yelled, “CUTIE, YOU HAVE SOME EXPLAINING TO DO! WHY DID I JUST FIND A STREAM OF NUTS AND BOLTS ALONG WITH SEVERAL ALLEN WRENCHS TRAILING DOWN THE STREET AS FAR AS THE EYES CAN SEE? WOMAN, WHAT HAVE YOU GOTTEN US INTO?”

As I sheepishly handed WW the paperwork to the 20 boxes of furniture pieces, I tried to moonwalk back to the house as he looked down in horror at the four pages of “some assembly required” instructions. I could have sworn I saw a tear course down his left check [The wife looks at the camera and whispers: “If you remember from an earlier episode, being a handyman is not WW’s strong suit”]. I am absolutely sure I heard a string of guttural swear words I never heard come from a human before.

Some Assembly Required

WW was inordinately quiet, and just when I thought I was home free, I heard my husband softly say (you know, that kind of still, small voice that you better not mess with, because that person has had it up to his eyeballs with your manipulation and shenanigans): “Eleanor, you will be helping me with this debacle for the six days and nights that I am sure it is going to take us to put it together—that’s if we have all the parts of which I am doubtful. Please bring me several different sizes of Allen wrenches, all of the regular wrenches you can find, several screwdrivers, my tool belt, my tool box, and a stiff drink!”

I gave him that classic Lucille Ball look that she always gave Ricky when one of her schemes had failed, and I quietly returned in my work overalls (my fat jeans with my “Ask Me About My Book” oversized t-shirt), with a handfull of pliers instead of screwdrivers (who knew, I thought they were the same thing), the tool box, a stiff drink, and no “Steve wrenches, honey, because I couldn’t find them.” I had no idea what an “Allen wrench” was—just remembered that it was a man’s name—so “Steve wrench” sounded good enough to me. WW let out a huge sigh, quietly went to get the Allen wrenches himself, and hugged me when he came back, and we began to dig amongst the boxes for bits and pieces of furniture parts to try and build beautiful furniture together. Whew! Good thing this man loves me, that’s all I can say.

Lucille Ball spider face

Lucille Ball’s classic “spider face” after a screw-up

***

MY A-HA MOMENT FROM MY LUCILLE BALL SHENANIGANS THIS WEEK!

I am discovering that marriage cannot be entered into with any hope of success unless both parties realize that they come together with “some assembly required” labels. Some arrogant wannabe pastor once told me that people have to be two perfect wholes before they can marry and make a success of it (he had an affair and divorced his wife within a year of that stupid statement). There is no such thing as a totally perfect human being. When we fall in love with someone, there are nuts and bolts dripping out of both parties, squished cardboard packaging covering our frames, some of our pieces might even be missing, and it takes a lot of spiritual wrenches and screwdrivers to make the two humans fit together in a cohesive manner that over a lifetime will make a beautiful endearing entity.  Marriage takes a lot of hard work!  If a couple has the glue of friendship, it will go a long way in building a strong unit, and if they have the screws of “stick-to-it-ness” they may even leave a loving legacy for their kids to follow.

HAPPY 36TH ANNIVERSARY WW (“WHITE AND WONDERFUL”). I LOVE YOU MORE THAN ANY WORDS COULD EVER EXPRESS. THANKS FOR NEVER GIVING UP ON ME.  JE T’ADORE!

***

TO MY READERS: I am going to take a blogging break so that I can actually survive June! The next time I see you, I’ll be in my new home, in another city, with a lot of chocolate Lucille Ball stories to regale you with as I try to start a new chapter in my life. I will probably return in early July! Until then, be good, tell all your friends and relatives about my new book, Fleeing Oz, and God bless!

 Marriage Imperfect Human beings

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES

“Maybe what we say to each other is not so important after all, but just that we are alive together, and present for each other as best we can be.”Anne Lamott, Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son

“Happy is the man who finds a true friend, and far happier is he who finds that true friend in his wife.”Franz Schubert

“When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory.”Friedrich Nietzsche

“To keep your marriage brimming,

With love in the loving cup,

Whenever you’re wrong, admit it;

Whenever you’re right, shut up.”—Ogden Nash

“There is nothing nobler or more admirable than when two people who see eye to eye keep house as man and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their friends.”—Homer

Love and Marriage

WANT TO READ THE AUTHOR’S LATEST BOOK, FLEEING OZ? 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.

Anniversary Toast

AUTHOR’S LATEST BOOKBMProof FleeingOz

 

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2015 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.

 
17 Comments

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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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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Dalai Mama’s House of Love

Do you know what I’ve discovered?  Love can occur in a fifth of a second, and falling in love hits the brain like cocaine does “causing euphoria-inducing chemicals to be released in 12 areas of the brain that work simultaneously,” according to The Medical News Today.*

That explains why we are so obsessed with the concept of romance as Americans.  Life is so hard and unpredictable, who wouldn’t want to remain perpetually high on love?   I mean I “loves me some romance,” and I would kick any man out of my bed who couldn’t deliver in that department.  But having been happily married for almost 34 years, I know that romance alone just doesn’t cut it (it ebbs and flows and never burns as red-hot as in the beginning).  It would be like having a diet of all desserts, but no protein, veggies, or grains.  Everything good about the body would decay, and so it is with marriage when it’s all sizzle and no steak.

Romantic love is when the chemicals in your brain kick in and you feel an emotional high, exhilaration, passion, and elation when you and your lover are together.—Sheri & Bob Stritof from The Everything Great Marriage Book (Adams Media).

I have discovered the problem with romance is that it is great when taken in context with a proper diet of true love, commitment, selflessness, loyalty, and grace, but it is a real bust when left to its own devices, and if most people were being honest they’d agree.  But online dating sites, bachelorette reality shows, and Hollywood chick-flick producers earn a fortune packaging romance as a commodity and, we the consumers, hope it will lead us to that perfect mate for life where we will live happily ever after.

Those were my thoughts when my husband WW (“White and Wonderful”) and I took our seats one Friday night for a dinner to recharge our romantic batteries after a week of having our asses kicked by life.  In my purse was the latest copy of Washingtonian magazine’s “Marriage: Making Love Last—and Who to Call When It Doesn’t (advice for everyone, including retired generals and their biographers),” which I wanted to talk to WW about to see if I could extrapolate a blog from it.  But before I could mention the magazine theme this month, my attention was drawn to a rather odd man sitting across from us.

Sitting in a booth all alone was a nebbish-looking man (the spitting image of Paul Giamatti as Harvey Pekar in American Splendor), wearing a cheap, ill-fitting suit, and nervously bouncing his legs up and down underneath the table as if there were jumping beans in the soles of his feet while his eyes lit up expectantly at every pretty dark-haired white woman who entered the restaurant door.  My initial reaction was to feel instantly sorry for the lonely diner and to feel an instinctive impending dread of what was surely to come.

Paul Giamatti as Harvey Pekar in American Splendor

ME:        Babe, babe, look at that guy over there.   I think he’s on a blind date.  I wonder if it is one of those online dating thingies.  Can you say:  ‘Here comes the Dalai Mama’s blog for the week’?

WW:     No, I cannot say anything about anyone without a vodka gimlet and some sustenance, and I need my “Lucille Ball” wife not to distract me from that goal or I’m going to keel over from hunger, and I won’t be a happy camper, believe you me.  Waiter!

ME:        Seriously, honey—work with me here!   Pretend this is a James Bond plot unfolding.  We’ve got one nebbish-looking white man, slightly paunchy, with a glass of red wine in front of him, and a single red rose dropping petals faster than I can say my name (who does that anymore—the single red rose thing?).  From the looks of it, he must have bought that rose three days ago because it is as limp as a wet noodle.  The dude can’t take his eyes off the entrance of the restaurant and he is sweating buckets.  Look at his armpits and the front of his shirt—he looks like he’s having hot-flashes.  Poor sweetie—I’ve got a bad feeling about this.

WW:     “Poor sweetie?”  What do you mean, “Poor sweetie.”  How do you know he’s a sweetie and not a serial killer?  I’m telling you “my chocolate Lucy,” mind your own business.

At that moment, an unusually tall brunette in 5-inch heels, a pencil skirt half-way up her ass, sporting a short biker leather jacket, and dog-collar choker, with her hair pulled up in a stern ponytail and her eyes encased in Goth carbon-black eyeliner and eye-shadow strolled into the restaurant looking defiantly for the guy that matched the picture on the paper she carried in her hand.  Just as she was about to turn away and go back out the door, our waiter sprang into action and rushed over to the woman who looked like an escapee from a dominatrix film and asked if she was looking for “Dennis” ?  As her eyes lit up in pleasant surprise, the waiter said, “No, I’m not Dennis, he’s over there” and gently steered “Ms. D.” to Nebbish’s table.   The woman’s back stiffened and you could tell she was not down with the guy who looked nothing like our handsome waiter.  As soon as I saw Ms. D’s reaction to Mr. N, I knew that lover-boy had not been honest about his profile and Ms. Dominatrix was going to kick his ass over the dishonesty, if given half the chance.

MS. D:   So you’re Dennis, huh?  I’ve just got to say this, right up front and right now (God, I’m so tired of this shit); you don’t look anything like your online picture.  What the fuck—the waiter looks more like this picture than you do!  Wait a minute. . .is that it, did you submit the waiter’s picture for your profile?

MR. NEBBISH:  Um, no . . . it’s mine.  Ha, ha . . . don’t get bent out of shape over a silly picture.  I mean what’s a picture compared to a heart?   At least I wasn’t crass and I didn’t send you a photo of my “little Dennis” (if you know what I mean) like some stories I’ve heard about online—right?   I mean, no, I didn’t mean to say that; I mean, yes . . . I mean maybe my waiter friend helped me out just a little and loaned me one of his photos. . .  Oy!

As “Dennis” tried to present his decimated rose to compensate for the awkward “little Dennis” joke and his pathetic life, he inadvertently knocked his glass of red wine all over the table.  And as I watched the back  of the woman’s neck turn beet red as she sat down across from her buyer’s remorse, I frantically searched for anything to write with to help hapless Dennis salvage his date (it turned out my lip liner would have to do). The woman’s back was to me, but I could see the man’s face without a problem and he could see mine.  I heard nose-diving snippets of one-liners from Mr. Nebbish accompanied by the high-pitched laughter of a hyena as his friend, the waiter, tried to rush in menus and sop up wine to help out the situation, while Mr. Nebbish’s nerves and the pitch of his voice became more strained:  “Ha, ha, you are just like my twelve-year-old daughter—she gets a little potty mouth when she can’t have her own way—you better sit down ‘little girl’ (ha, ha, ha)!” At that point I held up my frantically scrawled napkin sign for the nebbish that screamed, “Abort, abort . . . DROP THE KID ANALOGY—it’s too soon,” but Mr. Nebbish ignored me and heroically forged on with his rehearsed death march, “I thought we’d start with a bottle of bubbly, and then move on down the road to my favorite gourmet restaurant (Chipotle) for a romantic dinner.”   At that point, WW went to the men’s room (either to really do his business or escape my embarrassing, busybody antics), and I grabbed WW’s napkin and scrawled another sign, “No, no dude—can’t you see she’s just not into you—ABORT, ABORT—save your pride—save your balls!!” 

When Dennis started throwing out more desperate lines like, I rode in on my Harley” (sure you did, Dennis!) and “Maybe I could bring my daughter next time” (Oh, Dude, there will be no next time!), I saw Ms. Dominatrix excuse herself to go to the restroom all the while proclaiming she wasn’t blowing Dennis off, and that she’d be right back.  As she left with her coat and purse (that’s a sign, nebbish-man, for the next time—nobody takes their coat and purse to the restroom unless they are leaving), I shook my head in devastation for Dennis and mouthed the words, “she’s not coming back, Dude—I’m so sorry!”

 A Chuck Ingwersen Cartoon

After the angry Dominatrix stormed off into the blue, and the dejected Dennis rode off into the sunset, WW and I talked about what we had witnessed for the rest of the evening as we cuddled and sipped champagne on our couch while a romantic comedy streamed across the TV in the background.  We had met some forty years ago, five years after the landmark civil rights case of Loving vs. Virginia that made it possible for interracial couples to marry without being in violation of the law and being thrown in jail for disobeying that law—especially in Virginia, the state where we currently live.

ME:        Honey, do you think we would have ever met if we had to rely on a dating site?

WW:     No!  You weren’t into “white men” in your radical 60s, remember, so you would have never checked “open to dating all races” even if it had been legal and socially acceptable.  What was that famous line of yours:  “There ain’t nothin’ no white man can do for me!” 

ME:        Well, you wouldn’t have checked the box that said “I’m into hot black chicks,” either.  The only black person that you ever remotely knew was the mailman and only because your dog, Trixie, used to chase him down the street and try to bite a hole in his ass.  That damn family dog of yours never chased anybody else except the black mailman.  I can’t tell you how relieved I was when your mother wrote and told us that racist dog of theirs had died.

WW:     But that’s my point:  we had to meet each other in settings far away from our families, had to work with each other in a theater group as we grew as friends, and had to mingle with each other as part of a group of accepting and inclusive friends to break down those racial barriers, or our love would have been squelched before it could begin.   Who knows if that couple tonight could have made it or not?  All they saw were the stereotypes of each other.  They never got to the issues of the heart.  Maybe nebbish-man was the softening around the edges dominatrix-woman needed and she was the steel nebbish-man needed to strengthen his spine.  It was one nebbish and dominatrix demolition derby in that restaurant tonight and “never the hearts did meet.”  This online stuff is a tool but only a tool.  If people don’t really take the time to go below the surface, it’s a faulty tool at best.  But once a couple gets together, I suspect it takes investment and hard work.  And speaking of investment, I’m tired of talking about those people we saw tonight; let’s turn off the TV and put on some music of our own.

(And so to the mellifluous strains of Marvin Gaye singing, “Let’s get it on. . .” WW and I forgot all about nebbish-man and dominatrix-woman and did our own wild thing—the romance that keeps us “keeping on” even after all this time).

******

I am discovering that “romance” is simply the ticket into the amusement park:  the sexual attraction that hooks up the lovers and gives them a jump-start at the beginning and continues to turn their engines throughout the course of the relationship.  But romance was never meant to be the whole enchilada (mixed metaphor intended).

I may be wrong, but to me, marriage is 90% hard work and 10% “a thrill up your spine.” There is no “perfect solution” to finding a perfect mate to take this journey with—no matter what eHarmony promises.  I believe you can meet a potential mate wherever people gather—either randomly “falling in love” on a glorious sunny day or methodically letting an algorithm guide you to each other through a dating service.  Your husband or wife will either be the best thing that ever happened to you or he or she will be the relationship from Hell and no matter how you met your mate, both people will still have to give it all they’ve got to make it work and keep the marriage vibrant.   People always ask me, “what’s your secret to a long and fulfilling marriage,” and lately I’ve been telling them, “It’s the ‘4-Hs’:

Humility:  a thirst for knowledge of a higher power (cause you could be wrong about so much shit today as well as tomorrow) and the ability to readily express to your God and partner: “I’m sorry; please forgive me!” goes a long way in going the distance

Humor: a ready ability to laugh at oneself and never take oneself too seriously—ever

Honor:  a never-ending sense of wanting to empower one’s partner and love what he or she loves—always

Hearing:  an ability to be the world’s greatest listener to your partner’s incessant chatter (hopes and dreams)—knowing that you love it when he or she listens to your bullshit

Humility is so important.  It’s easy to get wrapped up in your frustration about the ways your spouse is an asshole.  You need to remember that the ways you are an asshole are being tolerated by your spouse.”Richard B.Smith, DC Psychologist Specializing in Marriage and Family counseling as tagged by Washingtonian/Dec 2012

“Develop a poor memory.  That is, do not collect grievances and throw them in your spouse’s face.  No one wants to hear, ‘This is just like the time on our honeymoon when you . . . .’”—Emily Yoffe, Who Writes the Dear Prudence Column for Slate as tagged by Washingtonian/Dec 2012

“A great marriage is not when the ‘perfect couple’ comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.”― Dave Meurer

“Marriage has no guarantees. If that’s what you’re looking for, go live with a car battery.”—Erma Bombeck

“One of the nicest things you can say to your partner, “If I had it to do over again, I’d choose you—Again.“—Unknown

WW (“White and Wonderful”) and the Dalai Mama blogger

*Christian Nordqvist.  “Fallin Love Hits the Brain Like Cocaine Does.”  Medical News Today.  Medilexicon, Intl., 27 Oct. 2010.  Web.

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 November 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The Real Work of Love

Do you know what I discovered?  Everybody’s talking about the dissolution of the marriage of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise.  Who didn’t see that coming?  If you really want to know the real predictors of the longevity of a celebrity marriage you just need to visit your neighborhood beauty parlor, barber shop, or nail salon—you’ll never be taken by surprise again.  At my weekly spa the technicians have names like Mary, Jane, Carol, and Judy but in real life their names are Jungyoon, Yunjoo, Joohee, and Wonjin.  They all pour over People magazine as if their lives depended on it.  They know more about Hollywood celebrities than the celebrities’ own mothers do, and they predicted the demise of the Cruise/Holmes marriage almost to the day.

For years I too had the “gift of prophesy” of predicting how long a couple would stay married because for a good stretch of time in my life I was a wedding singer.  By the time the rehearsal for a wedding was over, I could tell if the bride and groom had the fiber to go the distance or if they were just bullshitting each other and themselves.  During those days (60s, 70s, early 80s), my overall conclusion about the brides and grooms I met were that they were in “lust,” but rarely in love.  Oh, they thought they were in love, and I’m sure it would have come as quite a surprise to them to hear otherwise.  But if their union lasted more than a hot minute and I got to meet them again on their 20th or 30th anniversary, I usually found that by that time they were “growing up” in love because they had journeyed through Hell and back and had truly discovered the hard work of choosing to love each other rather than exiting stage right when the thrill was gone.

Image from funnanimalsite.com

As a wedding singer during that time, I had three songs that I rotated by popular demand:  Paul Stookey’s “Wedding Song: There is Love,” Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly,” and Fiddler on the Roof’s Sunrise Sunset.”   If I had $100 for every time I sang one of those songs at a wedding, I’d be rollin’ with The Donald (no, not that slimball—never that slimeball—but I’d definitely be a baller).  I was thinking about my wedding singer season the other day, and those songs kept ringing though my head as if on a loop (possibly precipitated by the great Holmes/Cruise marital take-down) when I went to get my nails done recently.

WONJIN:  “Well, how yu doin’ my friend?

ME:  “Hey Judy, how’s life—what’s the buzz?”

WONJIN:  “Hangin’ in der, my friend—not too shabby—can’t complain.   Hey, you hear how Katie Holmes kick Tom Cruise ass?  People say she run divorce escape-plan like ‘Mission Impossible.’   Baby-girl one smart cookie, that’s what I say.”

JOOHEE:   “Oh yeah.  People say that that Puss in the Boots guy’s marriage to 9 to 5 actress is toast too, but I don’t want to say too much until I confirm it with the People.  I not surprised, though.  That Antonio has got the look of a real player, but I wouldn’t kick him out of my bed even though he not Asian.  Hee, hee!”

ME:  “Auntie, you so nasty.  What would Antonio Banderas want with an old woman?”

JOOHEE:  “How he know if he never try?  What that thing you tell me last month:  Once you go Auntie-Asian you never go back!”

ME:  “You’re a hoot, Auntie.  The expression is ‘once you go black, you never go back’ and I was talking about myself.  Only Black people can use that expression.  Somehow it gets lost in translation when you use it.”

JOOHEE:  “I can see you never taste ripe Asian fruit, my friend or you’d be singin’ a different tune—forever!”

Image pinned by Lisa Marie DeMedeiros on Pinterest

JOOHEE:  “Anyhow, I gave that Puss-n-boots and his Melanie five years when I first read about them in the People—they been married ten years more than I said they’d be.  And divorces come in threes, you know.  Once People tell me Demi and Ashton on their way down the toilet, and then Katie ditched Tom ass, I knew another divorce comin’ our way faster than you can say kimchi.”

JUNGYOON:  “What all they problem, anyway?  I understand why poor people break up—no money!  It’s hard to be all lovey-dovey when you ain’t got pot to piss in or window to throw it out of.  But how come rich people can’t just get along?”

WONJIN:  “They got money, but they get bored and like to get milk from a different cow.  Sometime they like Asian flavor and sometime they like other flavors.  They think maybe next cow give them chocolate milk, ain’t that right my friend.  Tee-hee-hee-hee . . .”

ME: tuning into the iTune stream in my head)

“Well then what’s to be the reason for becoming man and wife?

Is it love that brings you here or love that brings you life?”

 (“Wedding Song: There is Love” by Paul Stookey)

Bored Couple” funnypictures.blogspot.com||image from
joannascheezeburger.com

JOOHEE:  “Well, finally Angelina and Brad finally got engaged.  People say her ring cost $500,000.  That no chump change, my friend.  I need me a man like that—Asian or no Asian.  I think somebody tell me engagements come in threes too. ”

ME:  “I think you me mean ‘deaths happen in threes,’ Mary.”

JOOHEE:  “No, this time, I right.  Although I a little worried because karma comes in threes and it is a bitch.  After what Angie and Brad did to Jennifer, I keep waiting for the other rock to drop.”

ME:  “Do you mean the ‘other shoe. . .’ oh, never mind.”

JOOHEE:  “All I know is Angie and Brad not safe from the karma gods until Jennifer finds happiness with her man.  Last month People rumored that Jennifer and Justin may be engaged.  They even show what they thought might be her ring from three different angles, but it was false alarm.  They were pictures of rings she give herself.  I think she fuckin’ with our minds, if you really want to know.  People think that too.  What wrong with these modern American couples?  Why he no put a ring on it?

(ME: zoning out to iTune stream in my head)

“Strumming my pain with his fingers

Singing my life with his words

Killing me softly with his song

Killing me softly with his song

Telling my whole life with his words

Killing me softly with his song.”

 “Killing Me Softly” (by Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel)

Image pinned by Jennifer Bishop on Pinterest||original image joannascheezburger.com

HYUNJOO:  “Auntie, look at this—it’s the new People magazine for this month.  It says Vera Wang is leaving husband, Arthur Becker.  There’s your third celebrity divorce for the month because Demi and Ashton don’t count—they ancient history.  And this People story is about death of an Asian mixed marriage.  That makes me sad—I like mixed marriages.  I think if we all married each other there would be no more racism and war.”

JOOHEE:  “Silly girl—you talk crazy.  I think everybody stick to they own kind—everybody be much happier.  Look at Vera Wang . . . she marry that white man and 23 years later—Pow!—People say he leave her ass.  Nice Asian man would still be there.

WONJIN:  “Auntie, old woman, you don’t know what you talkin’ about.”

ME:  “Hyunjoo, that was a nice thought Baby-girl.  You’re young, and hope always springs eternal in our youth.  But your Auntie and I are old and we know that racism will always be something we’ll struggle with as people because it is an issue of the heart (and OLD PEOPLE really resist change—don’t we Auntie) . . . Besides we don’t all need to intermarry each other (nice to do if you want) to accept one another.  We’ll get better, but we’ll never get over the need to feel superior to one another.  The best we can do is to love each other as we are where we are for who we are and take a sledge hammer to our own prejudices when they pop up.  Speaking of international relationships, are we still going to see Avenue Q next week, Wonjin?”

WONJIN:  “Sure, but only if we get to sing my favorite song in the car.

ME:  “You only like that song because the Asian character sings it to her white husband and gets to scold him, the entire cast, and the audience about their racism.”

WONJIN:  (WONJIN/a.k.a. Judy breaks out in an atonal voice belting “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx like a scalded cat while all the customers in the shop scream in protest):

“Everyone’s a little bit racist it’s true.

But everyone is just about as racist as you!

  If we all could just admit that we are racist a little bit

And everyone stopped being so PC

 Maybe we could live in – Harmony!”

ME:  “And on that note, I’m turning on my massage chair, plugging in my iPod, and I’m taking a nap—this is supposed to be my therapy time, not my eardrum bursting time.  Wake me when you find an interracial couple in People who you think will go the distance.  I’d like to place a bet on that.  Preferably an Asian married to an African-American, because you all know. . .”

JUNGYOON, HYUNJOO, JOOHEE, and WONJIN:  “Once you go black, you never go back!”

(ME: sleeping while listening to iTune stream in my head)

“They look so natural together

Just like two newlyweds should be. . .

. . . Sunrise, sunset

Sunrise, sunset

Swiftly fly the years

One season following another

Laden with happiness and tears”

 (“Sunrise, Sunset” from Fiddler on the Roof by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick)

“Interracial” Marriage||image from funnyanimalsite.com

JOOHEE:  Wake up, my friend.  Did you hear what People have to say about Joraan van der Sloot?  He may
be getting engaged.
  WTF!  Go figure!  How a convicted killer get a woman to marry him in prison, and his ass
in jail (in Peru) for twenty-eight years?  I tell you right now, if what People say be true, I give that marriage two days—maybe one week, tops!

******

I am discovering that real love takes a lot of work.  Whether it is the love of a petulant toddler, a rebellious teenager, a thoughtless spouse, or an unkind friend—to love is to sacrifice.  I don’t believe in staying in a marriage where it is abusive (physically or verbally), or the partner is a substance abuser, or if the partner is so self-centered that the spouse has to play second fiddle to his or her ego more often than not.  I know nothing about Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise’s marriage, but I suspect, given the cult-like nature of Scientology that infused their lives she might have escaped a volatile situation by the hair of her chinny-chin-chin—or else why the subterfuge?  (Hey, get off my case:  I read People and I know these things—so there you have it!)

But as Americans (without an oppressive cult-like religion breathing down our throats), we’ve really been sold a bill of goods about love.   We’ve been told that it is something we “fall into” rather than “grow into over time.”   We’ve also been told that love is a “feeling,” but it is more than that.  Love is actually a choice—an action.  Feelings will ebb and flow like the tide, but the ability to choose to give and receive love is always with us—it is organic and it grows as we make the choice to choose love over self-centeredness over and over again.  I have been fortunate to find the man of my dreams and to be married to him for 33 years after dating him for six.  He is not the same race, his family did not openly embrace me, he is better educated, and our initial “hot” bodies that we had when we were young that caused us to drown “in lust” for each other now sag in all the wrong places and increasingly feel more like the Pillsbury Dough Boy when we cuddle together at days end against the slings and arrows of the outside world.  We have been to Hell and back together.  But I love him and he loves me in all our twilight failings and oddities—so much more today than we did the day we first said, “I do.”

Pinned by Jennifer Bishop on Pinterest||Image from joannascheezeburger.com

“Love is action. Love is tolerance. Love is learning your partner’s love language* and then expressing love in a way that he can receive. Love is giving. Love is receiving. Love is plodding through the slow eddies of a relationship without jumping ship into another’s churning rapids. Love is recognizing that it’s not your partner’s job to make you feel alive, fulfilled, or complete; that’s your job. And it’s only when you learn to become the source of your own aliveness and are living your life connected to the spark of genius that is everyone’s birthright can you fully love another.” By Sheryl Paul (“What is Love?”) Huffingtonpost.com

“No matter what way you dress it up, the best thing you can bring to a marriage is not the feeling of ‘being in love‘, but romance’s poor relation: tolerance. . . And while I am pontificating, one more tip for the ladies: Try to find a man who has that most underrated of qualities: character.” By Kate Kerrigan (“Blog post: Marriage Myths”) and author of Recipes for a Perfect Marriage.

Book cover for excellent study on speaking and listening to our partners regarding their needs

*“Something in our nature cries out to be loved by another. Isolation is devastating to the human psyche. That is why solitary confinement is considered the cruelest of punishments.”
Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts

******

July 20, 2012 In Memoriam

Artist: Mark Rantal

Mark Rantal’s blue ribbon image interlaces elements of the Colorado state flag, a heart shape and an outline of Batman||Image from MarkRantal.Blogspot.com or “like” Mark at http://www.facebook.com/MarkRantal

MY HUSBAND AND I WISH TO EXTEND OUR HEARTFELT CONDOLENCES TO THE PEOPLE OF THE CITY OF AURORA, COLORADO AND ALL THE VICTIMS OF THE HORRIBLE TRAGEDY WHICH TOOK PLACE ON JULY 20, 2012.  OUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU.  MAY GOD GRANT YOU GRACE, HEALING, AND LOVE.  E & J Tomczyk

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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