They Said it Wouldn’t Last!


wedding picture

34 years ago today we were married! And almost unbelievably we’re still together, and the love and respect has gotten even stronger. The secret: Hang in there through the tough times, never give up, forgive each other and yourself, and realize that nobody’s perfect. Advice from Grandpa years ago: It’s not a 50/50 proposition, both of you have to give 100%. Words of wisdom from my mother years ago: Family is what is most important. It’s easy to lose sight of those words of wisdom at times, but they’re so true!

Me and Bob

Have a Loving Sunday!

He’s Not Here – Can I Take A Message?

Me and Bob

Awww!  My husband’s out of town for 3 days on a business trip!  That provides such a needed break for me.  There is total silence in my house right now except for the dogs pitter patter as they follow me around the house.  Oh, and the click, click, click of my computer keys!   

This may not seem like such a big deal to some, and it may sound to others like it would drive you crazy – all that silence and all.  But not so for me.  I love my husband of 34 years dearly and I’ll be ready for him to be back home by tomorrow night, but I love my very rare alone time.  

Bob and I have worked together for almost our entire marriage.  We’re self employed and for the last 10 years our office has been in our home.  So even though he’s working when he’s home, there is just a constant noise of some kind or another.  He’s either talking to me or talking on the phone, and he talks very loud I might add!  He’s in and out and a constant buzz of activity.  I’m not saying that’s a bad thing – in fact I worry when that working buzz isn’t going on.  I work with him part of the time, but I have my own many projects that I do.  Bob just never thinks my projects are that important, so if he needs me to do something, I pretty much have to drop what I’m doing.  Since his work makes more money than my projects, I only feel it’s right to keep my priorities straight.  

Then there’s the whole cooking dinner thing, and the cleaning the dishes and kitchen after.  In fact, I’m usually cleaning the kitchen all day since we both eat all our meals at home.  I also have a habit of needing to wipe down the bathroom every day after we get finished in there in the mornings.  (I know – you’re saying, “quit doing that”!  But I can’t!  I just can’t!)  Well, I only had to wipe down his sink and side of the vanity once yesterday morning, and I won’t have to do it again until for two more days!

So here was my day yesterday with no husband at home:  Mom and I went to lunch, ran a few errands, went to JoAnn Fabrics, went to the yarn shop and spent a lot of time and money there, got groceries (and I didn’t have to get quite as much since Bob’s not home!),  picked up sushi rolls for my dinner, ate said sushi rolls with a glass of wine while watching the news. (Bob likes the television off while we eat.  I agree with him so that we can have a calm and nice dinner, but he’s not here!), knit while I watched the America’s Got Talent finals while switching back and forth to Duck Dynasty.  I had such a nice day!

So far today, it’s been another very quiet and calm and pleasant day.  I had to turn the heat on this morning to take the chill out of the house.  Then the sun came out on this beautiful Fall day, so I opened the back door and turned on the fountain so that I could feel the fresh air and hear the water gurgling.  Bob would have had a fit that I turned the heat on and then opened the door!  He’s right – not very efficient and uses up energy and energy is money.  But he’s not here!  Then I cleaned the furnace room in the basement.  I keep all my storage bins in there, among an assorted gathering of junk, and it was just driving me crazy.  Now bins are neatly stacked, floor is scrubbed and I even found another box of Fall decorations that I forgot about!  I know that some of you may be thinking that you really don’t have to clean a furnace room, but I have to!  I just have to!  And there was no one here to tell me how unnecessary it was.  Now I’m click clicking away on my computer and not one interruption!  

I realize that for many women, they would love to have a loving husband talking to them more, or wanting to give them their total attention while sitting to dinner together, or being able to stay home to work.  I realize that, and I don’t take it for granted.  But I sure am enjoying my few days that Bob’s not here!

You can click on my Happiness Journey link HERE

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Happy Home Tip

SPRING COTTAGEStop Multi-Tasking

Oh, this is a hard one!  Something I really am working on.  My many projects, courses I’m teaching, housework and meal preparation,  bookeeping and our rental management,  family vacation plans that need to be made, jeesh!!  I really should fit in time to exercise and talk nice with my husband!

Here’s the problem with trying to do all these things I love to do and that make me happy.  They can all be done, just not all at the same time!  Because included in that list of things to do, I want to Live my life, Enjoy my day, and Savor each moment.

When you get so many things going at once and so many thoughts in your head, you almost become paralyzed and nothing really gets done very well.  On top of that, you can become so scattered, which leads to frustration, which leads to unhappiness for you and anyone else you live with or come in contact with.


“Multi-tasking:  The best way to get nothing done in the longest amount of time!”

Learn to control your attention.  Become fully engaged in one task at a time, enjoy the task while you’re doing it, appreciate what you are accomplishing and the good job you’re doing, then move on to the next thing.

If I have several things I want to get done in a day, I make a list of the most important at the top.  Don’t try to do a little bit of the first task, then a little bit of the second task, then go back to the first task, and so on.  I have to really practice at not doing this!  By doing one thing at a time you’ll notice how much calmer and happier you settle down to.  Your spouse will feel the calmness and the happier tone.  The feeling in your home will be happier and calmer.   And if you don’t get it all done, that’s OK!

There’s always tomorrow.  So make enjoyment one of the tasks at the top of your list and take time to savor your accomplishments.

You can learn more about my Happiness Journey courses HERE

You can sign up for a course HERE

Happy Home Tip

SPRING COTTAGEGrocery Shopping

Not always the most favorite chore.  There are ways, though, to make it easier, and save a little money, too.   Groceries have become so expensive.  I am constantly trying to find ways to save a little, but still eat what we like and eat healthy.  Whenever I can I buy store brand.  If I find, though, that it just doesn’t measure up and doesn’t taste good, I check that brand off my list.  Food quality is worth a lot.

Try to shop on the same day each week.  Pick a day that is the most convenient so that you don’t feel rushed.  And by shopping on the same day, the other family members know that if they need something, it has to go on the list by that day.  My husband is pretty well trained at this.  If he forgets, then he doesn’t get it until the next week or he has to go get it himself.   This way I’m not wasting time all week by running to the store every day or so to pick something up.  This is such a time waster.  I usually know each morning what I’m going to make for dinner that evening and I know I have all the ingredients to make it. 

Definitely make a list.  I try to plan ahead and have at least a couple of meals and recipes planned for the week to come.  Then I look to see what ingredients I need and write them on my list.  If I am diligent in sticking to my list while shopping, I always spend less.  If it’s not on the list, we usually don’t NEED it.

Full shopping trolley

Coupons — I had to learn this lesson.  Unless you’re a professional extreme couponer, don’t clip every coupon you see and then feel like you have to buy it just because you have a coupon for it.  You will spend way too much money this way and probably waste a lot.  That used to be my experience, anyway.  Now I make my list first, then look through my coupons only for those items that are on the list.  Since there are only the two of us in the house most of the time, if I have to buy 3 boxes of cereal to save 40 cents, the coupon isn’t worth it.  The cereal will go stale before we can eat it all.

This little bit of extra planning and time will become habit.  Grocery shopping can be enjoyable.  And the “What should I make for dinner?” problem is no longer a problem.

It’s usually just the little things that keep your Home Calm and Happy!

Have a great weekend

“Wanna Wrestle” – A Love Story

“Wanna wrestle”?  Those were the very first words my then future husband would say to me.  I don’t know if it was the unusual pick up line or his muscular body in a wrestling singlet, but he had me at “wanna wrestle?”!   That was 33-1/2 years ago.  And 6 months later we were married.  


So you may wonder why he was in a wrestling singlet and asking me to wrestle.  It all started like this:  My dad had started a youth wrestling program and my little 12 year old brother was one of the wrestlers.  I remember my dad telling me that he found these two former high school wrestlers that he had brought on to coach the kids.  He was telling me about this great wrestler that had gone undefeated his senior year in high school and how good and tough he was.  At the time of him telling me about all this wrestling stuff, I probably wasn’t that interested and I didn’t think any more about it.  


I had just moved into my own apartment after college and getting my first full time job.  I had something (can’t remember what) that I needed to drop off to my dad.  I called my parents’ house and mom told me that dad was at the high school wrestling room and that I could find him there.  Well, I walked into that stinky room filled with young sweaty boys and that’s when this young man with a strong hard body walked up to me.  “Wanna wrestle” was literally the first words out of his mouth to me.  I don’t even remember what I answered back.  I must have said “no”, or maybe even “not right now”.  If I had said “yes” I think I would have ended up on my back right then and there.  


I left that wrestling room not really sure what I was thinking, except that I always did have a thing for wrestlers.  I didn’t think much more about him until a few days later, right before Easter, my mother told me to be sure to come over to the house for Easter dinner.  She had invited the two wrestling coaches for dinner.  After dinner, Bob (previously known by me as “the hard body”) asked me if I wanted to go to the movie with him.  “Heaven Can Wait” had just come out and he really wanted to see it.  What a great first date movie!  


The rest, as they say, is history.   We’ve been together ever since that night.   About 2 months after that first date we got an apartment together.  Both of our jobs were in downtown Cincinnati so Bob would walk to my office after he got off work, we would walk to our car, usually stop at the fresh fish market and the health food store, then go home to our cute little apartment and make dinner and play backgammon.  It felt right and good!  


One day after work, Bob asked me if I wanted to go get blood tests for a marriage license. 33 years ago that was a pre-requisite to getting married.  He said he liked living with me but wanted to be married if we were going to live together.  I agreed.  I was excited!  It just felt right.  


That’s what we did!  We got the blood test and I passed out cold on the doctor’s floor!  I was afraid if I told him I always faint when needles are stuck in me that he might change his mind.  I thought I could force my mind over matter in this one important life changing instance.  Well, it didn’t work!  Out cold.  Flat on the floor.  Very embarrassing!  


Three days later, without telling anyone, we went to a Justice of the Peace in Covington, Kentucky.  We were married in this Justices’ house, his wife and Mike (the other wrestling coach) were witnesses, the Justice was drunk at the time and the TV continued to play the Bengal’s football game during our little ceremony.  The whole thing makes us laugh to this day!  Then we went out to a very nice restaurant for dinner and back to our cute and cozy little apartment.  I don’t regret not having a big fairy tale wedding.  For some reason, that was never a childhood dream of mine.  This was about marriage and not about a wedding. 


We did tell my parents about 2 or 3 weeks later.  I know they were upset, but they were very good about it.  They had a beautiful reception for us 3 months later.


Now here it is, 33 years, 2 sons, and 5 grandchildren later.  And no one thought it would last!

Read how other GenFab members met their spouses/partners/loves of their lives.

He Left Me!

Are you happy when you’re alone?  I’m sure that depends on a lot of factors.  It would depend on whether it’s by choice or not.  Is it just a short and temporary situation or a seemingly permanent way of life?  Are you a person that thrives on quiet alone time or do you need to have constant live interaction with others in order to feel alive and happy?  Like most things in life, we usually crave what we don’t have or don’t have a lot of.  


As women, and especially women over 50, I think I can make a general statement that we are much more in need of, or at least comfortable with, our alone time.  I’m sure that’s not true for all of us, but in general.  Am I wrong on this?  I know I love being alone!  I’m sure that’s because I am alone very seldom.  I’m home alone for a few days while my husband is out of town on a business trip.  I feel like I’m on a 4 day vacation without even wanting to walk out my door!  Guess what I did yesterday?  I sat on my butt most of the day, in my little studio/sewing room, in my cute comfy favorite chair, surrounded with everything I needed.  My dogs slept on the couch next to me and I had my little TV turned on to the channels I like to watch without anyone saying to me, “How can you watch that crap?”  My coffee cup and later my wine glass, the TV remote, and the telephone are all within a short reach on the end table to my right.  My computer and bookkeeping that I’m working on, are right in front of me on my little ottoman.  My yarn and book basket is on the floor to my right and my beading stand is on my left.

 I only had to get up to go to the bathroom,  get something to eat, and let the dogs out.  What a great day!  Nobody was talking at me, asking me questions, wanting something to eat, or wanting my attention.  I had guacamole chips with spinach dip for dinner, watched the TV shows I wanted to in bed, and then read my book with my nightstand light on instead of my little tiny book light!  Oh such simple little joys!


I know why it felt like such a treat, and that’s because it very seldom occurs.    My husband and I have been married for almost 33 years.  We have also worked together for 32 of those years.  For the last 8 years our office has been in our home and so we are together almost 24/7.  Not only are we physically together most of the time, we are working together, talking, discussing, planning, and at times disagreeing.  We see and feel each other’s stresses, hear each other’s phone calls and share each other’s emails.   So a little alone time is a very welcome change.  


I know there are many single, divorced, widowed, and maybe even some ignored married women that would tell me that they would change places with me any day just to have a loving partner next to them and interacting with them.  I understand that.  I am not complaining.   Like I said earlier, we usually crave what we don’t have.


Our situation obviously works for us, but it takes a lot of patience at times.  We also have lived this way almost our whole married life and so at this point, living any other way for a longer length of time, would just not feel right at all.  In fact, shortly after my husband left, I started telling myself that I really should have gone with him!    Last night we talked on the phone and I just kept thinking that I should be there with him!


Yes, my kitchen is clean and there are no dirty dishes, but it’s not very enjoyable cooking for one.  The bathroom is staying clean and I seem to sleep better and wake up without my back hurting, but the nights are getting cooler and I have no one to snuggle with.  I’m doing my work without someone talking to me, but there is no one here to answer my constant annoying questions.  And what if an appliance or piece of office equipment breaks down?  I can’t fix stuff like that!


I’ll enjoy my alone time.  I have a lot of work to do so it flies by.  I’ll be so glad when he’s back home!





Marriage, Dinner and a Movie

Mom and Dad last year during our trip to Bermuda 

Yesterday was my parents’ 56th wedding anniversary!  I’m so proud of them.  That’s a long time to love and live with the same person.  It’s something to be so admired, though.  There is a lot to be said for marriages that have lasted the test of time.  My grandparents were married for 75 years!  Heck, I think my husband and I are doing great at almost 33 years behind us.


There wasn’t a big “TO-DO” over their big day yesterday.  That tends to die down after so many years, I guess.  It’s sort of an unspoken rule that we have parties when the numbers hit a multiple of 5.  Come to think of it now that I said that, I don’t think we even had a big party last year for them!    Oops!  Well, #60 is only 4 short years away and there’s no doubt we’ll be celebrating that one with them.


My two brothers live close to Cincinnati, about 6-1/2 hours away, and I only live 3 miles down the road, so my brothers can’t always celebrate all events with us.   Yesterday we decided to go to a movie that we all wanted to see but knew that it would never come to our small little town.  We drove 60 miles to State College to see “2016”.

I’m not going to get all political here.  This is not the venue.  But I will say that it is an excellent, well made movie based on facts about our current President.  As the tag line of the movie says “Love him or hate him, you don’t know him”.  I think the audience is probably mostly Conservative and the audience at the showing we were at was made up for the most part of “Over 50’s”.  I think, though, that every person that loves this country and has an interest in who their President is should know all that they can learn about what he is about and what his vision is for the United States.  Enough said about that!


Before the movie, we had a little time, so we went into Starbuck’s for a cup of coffee.  Starbuck’s is a treat for us.  There is no such place where we live.  In fact, I think the one in State College is the closest.  After the movie we walked around the Nittany Mall.  It’s actually not very big, but it has a Macy’s!  Woo Hoo!!  We don’t have one of those where we live either.  Are you getting a picture of what it’s like here in our little Western Pennsylvania town?  And you wouldn’t believe how much it’s grown in the last 30 years since we’ve lived here!  But still no Starbuck’s, Macy’s or movies such as “2016”!  That’s OK.  We get real excited when we travel out of town.


We had dinner at a cute little pub type restaurant in the mall called “Garfield’s”.  I don’t know if that is a chain or just a locally owned restaurant, but the food was excellent.  The drive between here and State College is also a very pretty drive.  It’s hills and trees and very little traffic.  This is a great place to live, raise kids, and retire!  


So this brings me back to what I was thinking about when we got back home last night.  What are the secrets to a long marriage?  I’m maybe not a certified therapist on such matters, but I’ve lived and experienced the lives of long marriages.  Here’s what I know to be true.  First of all, it is only possible if it’s free of abuse of any kind.  Free of that, commitment is tops on the list.   We don’t think of giving up or quitting.  All problems can be worked out if you’re committed to each other and the marriage.  It’s a choice by both of you to not let anything come between.  Mature love of each other, love of family and keeping it intact, respect, and wanting to always be with your children’s father and your grandchildren’s grandfather are very important to me.  A strong desire to keep life Happy, good, comfortable, and as easy as possible are major factors.   It’s not always that way, but I know we both try hard.  Anger and difficulties are dealt with and fixed or compromised on right away.    I remember my grandfather saying when I first got married, that a marriage isn’t a 50/50 deal.  Both spouses have to be willing to give 100% to make it work.  


I realize there are a lot of  factors that come into play in many marriages that make long years together impossible.  So I am grateful and appreciative for the role models and the husband that I have.  Thank you Grandma and Grandpa.  Rest in Peace.  Thank you Mom and Dad.  I Love You!

Home Alone!

Are you happy being Home Alone?  I’m sure this has a different feeling for everyone, depending on the reason and situation.  This probably falls under the category of  wanting and liking what you don’t usually have.  Since Bob and I work together, from our home, I am very seldom Home Alone for more than a few hours at a time.  Once or twice a year he has a conference, meeting, or training seminar out of town and so the rare opportunity to be alone for a few days presents itself.  Many of these times I decide to go with him, depending on the location.  Well, he just left for Las Vegas for 3 -1/2 days and I decided to stay home!  What?  Am I nuts?  What was I thinking?


No, really, this trip came about without much notice.  Travelling is such a pain these days, it’s expensive, and honestly – I was craving some alone time.  I usually love Las Vegas.  We will plan to see at least one show and try a new place for at least one really nice dinner.   This was us a little over a year ago at our last Las Vegas get away!

 We went to see “Cher” that night.  So much fun!   We even have my parents go along with us at times and this gives me the chance to spend the days with them while Bob is at his meetings.


This morning Bob was getting ready to leave and was complaining the whole time that he didn’t feel like going.  Unlike me, he doesn’t really enjoy being alone or doing things alone.  I’ve discovered after 32 years of marriage that this is normal for him and actually seems to be a pretty common difference between men and women in general, especially the older we are and the longer we’ve been married.   I was really looking forward to my alone time until this morning.  All at once, I was sad that I wasn’t going with him.  I was thinking about the dinners we could have had together and what shows we could have seen and the dressing up I could have done.  Bob’s somber mood wasn’t helping either.  I actually went so far this morning as to check the price of another plane ticket.  Forget that – way too much and no tickets available on the same flight!


Oh well, too late now!  I’m sure Bob will be fine once he gets there, and now that I’m Home Alone I have several things planned.   Here’s my list:


  1. Eat whatever and whenever I feel like it – while I’m watching TV and sitting in my comfy chair in my sewing room
  2. Sew and knit as late as I want to into the night and then read in bed with the bedside light on.
  3. If I decide not to read, then I’ll fall asleep with the television on.
  4. I’ll light my scented candles that I love and that Bob hates.
  5. Call my best friend in California – any time I feel like it in the next 3 days
  6. Organize Bob’s bathroom drawers
  7. Dust Bob’s office, while trying to keep the piles of papers and folders in order.
  8. Catch up on ironing Bob’s dress shirts
  9. Possibly re-arrange the living room – I’ll have to think about this
  10. Anything else I might think of – whenever I think of it!
I know by Wednesday, I’ll be looking forward to him coming home.  I think it’s a good thing to be apart and be alone every once in a while.  As they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder!
So now, should I get something to eat, take a bath with candles lit, finish sewing my latest tote bag, or play around on the computer for a while?  The choices just feel different when there’s no one else in the house asking you, “what are you doing that for?”, or “what’s for dinner?”.  Like I said – you always want what you don’t have.  I’m sure I would wish for someone to be around asking me these questions if I was alone all the time!