Monday, December 27, 2010


Me 'n' my Sweetie

Thirty six years ago today, this man married me. God Bless His Heart. He had nooooo idea what he was getting himself into. Not only was he marrying a slightly spoiled "only child", he was also gaining a sizeable, highly "impassioned" and occasionally neurotic family, devoted to one another and, like it or not, a huge part of one anothers' lives. He got all of us …. the good, the bad AND the ugly. I, on the other hand, was marrying into the Cleaver family of 50's television. The Gray's were the epitome of the ideal family that everyone wanted to have. So imagine, if you can, the culture shock that must have sent him reeling once we were married.

I guess you could say that Kenny and I were among the few lucky ones. Too young to marry, naïve, and totally clueless as to the ingredients for a truly successful marriage, we blundered along and still managed to survive. Fortunately, our marriage has grown stronger with each passing year. God was surely watching over us and carrying us over all those bumps and hurdles in the road.

Out of the two of us, I have to say that I am the most blessed. I may not have recognized (or appreciated) it at the time, but I was marrying a man of immense integrity, kindness, generosity and the patience of Job himself! Never, I repeat, NEVER has there been a more patient and tolerant husband and father. Try living with me and our two boys for any length of time and you will be amazed at his restraint and fortitude! The man is a Saint.

And have I mentioned Unconditional Love??? While the "Control Freak' in me is constantly trying to tweak and improve on our two boys (only to make them even better, of course), he adores them exactly as they are: warts, farts and all. In his eyes, they are exactly as they should be and he is passionate about them.

I have no concern that our sons won't make great husbands, for they have a role model second to none. They have grown up with and observed their father through all kinds of situations and his example has taught them volumes about honesty, patience, compassion, and, most of all, about being an Excellent Husband. I know that my sons will treat their wives with the same love and respect they have seen their father treat me. And that, my friends, is his greatest gift to all three of us!

I have to say that even after thirty plus plus years, my heart still skips a beat whenever he walks through the door at the end of the day. I can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that I get to have yet another day of absolute happiness and security, thanks to the man I married. He is truly my Soul Mate.

People are always asking me the secret to our "lengthy" marriage. So in honor of full disclosure, all I can honestly say is "Blind Luck". Kenny definitely gets all the credit for being an ideal husband and I am the lucky one.

So thank you, my sweet husband, for putting up with me all these years. You are a shining example of everything every husband SHOULD be. I love you forever. (But we're still gonna work on that wardrobe of yours AND your idea of humor….The Office really IS funny and farts really AREN'T)

Please don't ever get tired of me…


(Now can we get a new puppy??)

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Have I already mentioned how fortunate and blessed I am to be surrounded by the most amazing people?? Not only my very remarkable family and in-laws, but unbelievable friendships that surpass imagination?? Well, at the risk of totally wearing out all superlative adjectives and capital letters, I am now going to tell you about my very extraordinary friendship.

Kris is my Soul Sister. Cue the music: "hey sista, go sista, soul sista, go sista……" We think alike, we finish each other's sentences and we usually know what the other one is going to say before she says it! Jinx! One two three…….We have been friends for over twenty years now and I don't think there has ever been a time that we have even had an argument or made one another just a little ticked off. Of course, I can only speak for myself.

Over those twenty plus years, we have gotten ourselves into "situations" too numerous to count. There were the several "mini" (or should I say "micro") business endeavors we thought we could pull off. We never made any money but we always learned what we did NOT want to do … ever again! For example, there was the plant-potting business that we just knew would make us rich and famous. We envisioned ourselves as "Martha Stewart Types", in our chambray workshirts, sunhats, pruning shears and expensive gardening gloves, cranking out potted patio arrangements a la Martha herself, worthy of any magazine cover. And not a drop of perspiration to be seen. HA! Well, the pots were beautiful but what we did NOT realize was that we would find ourselves knee deep in manure and compost, still working by the light of the moon, cleaning out dirtclod boogers and earwax, and totally destroying anything that mildly resembled fingernails until they grew back the next year. One thought continuously ran through our minds: "What were weeeee thinking???"

As a matter of fact, that very same thought seems to continuously run through our minds every time we get ourselves into another "situation." These DIY projects have included materials such as very large, unmovable boulders, hoists, flagstone, sledge hammers, utility belts, kitchen tile AND tile cutters, pine cones, glitter, putty, fabric, garage sales, weddings, dinner parties, plant foam and buckets and buckets of fresh cut flowers scattered throughout the entire house. And…. We…. Never….learn. We always end up looking at one another and saying (or channeling) "What were weeeee thinking?"

Example: Picture "Yours Truly" trying to drive a car with a huuuuge (uber) flower arrangement between my legs and up into my face, another in my non-driving hand, Kris riding shotgun, holding one with her feet, one in her lap and one in each hand. AND two of our children in the backseat doing the same thing with very sour expressions on their adorable faces. And that was just the first trip!! WTF? Er, I mean WWWT??

Kris is the only person with whom I can walk into any plant nursery any time of year and both of us simultaneously breath in that wonderful aroma of organic compost and feel like we've just experienced true euphoria. And don't even get me started on the fragrance of freshly cut flowers! It really is pathetic.

Then there was the time that we BOTH wet our tennis panties during a very serious Team Tennis doubles match because we couldn't stop laughing at ourselves (or our challengers). Needless to say, no one else thought we were all that funny. Including our team. That may have been the last year we competed.

And the stories go on and on…..

So, my dear Kris, thank you for years and years of laughter and wonderful times. We have certainly been through a LOT together. But not only has Kris given me hours and hours of wonderful conversation and delightful memories, she has also taught me soooo many life lessons.

What lessons you ask? Well, I'll tell you. Kris was the first person to teach me about Faith (with a capital "F"). This remarkable woman has had her share of life's trials and I have never seen her faith waver. Through the most challenging of times, she has always been upheld by her tremendous faith in God and His plan for her life. I honestly don't know how she has done it. There have been situations that would make the strongest of us want to give up. So she has also taught me about true Loyalty and Perseverance.

Kris taught me how to recognize True Beauty. Before we became friends, I was fully aware of the wonders of nature and its countless miracles. But it wasn't until I began spending time with her, that I learned to appreciate the way the light reflected off the leaves of a tree or the many different shades of pink in a pink rose. She taught me to look beyond the surface. I never really noticed those birds perched on the telephone wires and how one of them might have a very long worm in its mouth and was carefully and strategically keeping his distance from the others. Or how even the simplest of plants can take on an entire personality of his own just by growing in his own unique little configuration. Kris taught me all that.

She also taught me about simplicity. I learned from her that we really don't need all that "stuff" to make us happy. The important things really can't be bought. The truly important things are faith, family, friends, nature, commitment and experiencing each of them to their fullest.

We have been friends through the Best of Times and the Worst of Times. The highs and lows of Life (capital "L"). Losses and Blessings. She has supported and held me up many times and I have tried to do the same for her.

Kris says I can't buy her a Christmas present this year. It's going to be another one of those "lean" Christmases and she doesn't want to feel bad for not being able to reciprocate.

So this is my Christmas gift to you, my Sweet Friend…a Tribute to your amazing soul and a Thank You for all the wonderful times and for teaching me so much about life. You are truly beautiful, inside AND out! May our friendship continue to grow until the days when we can't remember one another's names but we can still remember that danged party we got ourselves into, decorating until the eleventh hour! May we always be able to stroll down those plant aisles (or be pushed), holding hands, and sucking in those wonderful cosmic aromas that send us into our own little "Horticulture Heaven."

You're such an awesome friend and I'm soooo blessed to have you in my life.



Note: Please pardon the overuse of capital letters, but they seemed the only way to get my POINT ACROSS!