Mawwiage

Today is my 19th anniversary. Fortunately, I did find true love and have lived relatively happily after all.

Out of curiosity, I did some research on the state of marriage in the United States these days. Turns out, according to Pew Research, over 1/2 of Americans still get married, with college graduates being even more likely to put a ring on it. These stats are staying fairly stable.

For some reason, divorce rates among older Americans have increased. But those 50 and older are more likely to co-habitat with a partner.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, you can break things down even more along age, race, educational, class, etc. lines. Still, regardless of these factors, education level still seems to play a role in how likely someone is to get married. I’m fascinated. The divorce rates also seem to be lower.

Now for the fuzzy part of this post.

A few things I’ve learned in my almost two decades as a married person:

  • Treat the word “love” as a verb. Show your partner your love each day. Live it.
  • Recommit yourself to your marriage every day and especially on the hardest days.
  • Have your own interests and do your own thing sometimes.
  • Admit when you make a mistake. Apologize and mean it.
  • Be kind.
  • If you don’t like something, change yourself. Don’t try to change your partner. It doesn’t work.
  • You don’t have to be perfect.

I’ll be hanging out by myself because my husband has one of those jobs that keeps him away during the week. But he is always in my heart and usually just a text message away. We’ll celebrate in a week or so when we’re both in the same state at the same time. I was an Army wife for many years and learned that celebrations are special because of what you’re celebrating, not because of the day you celebrate them.

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Book Review – The Perfect Nanny

38330854._UY2333_SS2333_The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani

This was a twisted story of obsessive, twisted emotion parading as love.

You go through the story knowing the tragedy that is to come. I kept hoping it was a fever dream or some sort of hallucination. But the more I learned about the characters, I was left wondering why there wasn’t a higher body count.

Louise seemed like such a perfect nanny. She cooked, cleaned, played games…a French Mary Poppins. Except this isn’t a Disney story and Louise didn’t bring a family back together before floating into the clouds with a magic umbrella. She only seems to have an identity when she is being a nanny. Her own life has never seemed to satisfy her.

The characters never felt completely filled out. I was left wanting to know more. Particularly with Louise, there seemed to be so many unanswered questions. And there felt like there more to be said about her daughter.

But it was a hard book to put down. I wanted to keep reading to see if any of the characters would exhibit some better qualities. In the end, they were all so completely human in their imperfection and inability to stop the tragic path they were doomed to follow.

 

Are you a helper?

We saw “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” today. I’m not a film critic, but in my opinion, this documentary was well done.

As I watched, a few key points came through. Fred Rogers was deeply influenced by his Christian faith and he was a life-long Republican. He lived those values. He felt all people had value. He knew how to really listen.

I’m disturbed by those who would like to lecture others about how we should follow Mr. Roger’s example when those same people say hateful things about groups of people they disagree with. (Hypocrites!) Or tell us to look for the helpers. (Why not actually BE a helper?)  Or talk about how terrible Christians are and silly people are for following any faith.

But, you know what? Most of that garbage plays out on social networks. People feel free to be as mean, hateful, and ugly as they want online because they don’t have to face the consequences of their words. I’m having a hard time in finding much value in social networks anymore…except in a very focused, narrow way.

It’s too easy to be drawn into the muck with all the negativity. I’d rather find other places to engage – in real life, in well-moderated discussion groups, and other places where thoughtfulness, kindness, free-thinking, common sense, and tolerance of different opinions are considered. (And yes, I do understand there are certain opinions that have no value and those aren’t the ones I’m talking about. People are misleading when they use that argument. It’s an excuse for being jerks to everyone who doesn’t agree with them or won’t go along with what they want.)

I’ll still be writing short book reviews and other random stuff here.

Not a ripple

“I could disappear from the face of the earth, and the world would go on moving without the slightest twinge. Things were tremendously complicated, to be sure, but one thing was clear: no one needed me.” ― Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Occasionally I’ll read a story about someone who has died and their body was found several days or weeks or even years later. People wonder how something like that can happen not realizing how easy it can be to disappear from anyone’s notice. I’m not talking about going off the grid. That is much harder to do. But, if someone lives alone, doesn’t have a job or somewhere they regularly go where their absence might be noticed, it’s easy to become invisible. Maybe even more so these days when people seem more determined to be self-involved and self-absorbed.

I think about all the things that I have scheduled that don’t require much attention if I choose to ignore them. Like bill payments, lawn service, etc. I can even schedule blog posts here. I could disappear and the my dogs might be the only creatures that noticed right away. Of course, if I run away from home, I’m taking them with me!

What’s my point? Do I ever have one? Maybe my point is to put your phone down once in awhile. Look at someone when you pass them on the sidewalk and smile. Say hello to your next door neighbor. Take the time to see the people around you.

Book Review

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Gilchrist by Christian Galacar

This book reminded me of early Stephen King or Dean Koontz in the weird/creepy factor. You get a good dose of shivers from the supernatural elements, but at least one character probably didn’t have all that far to go into pure evil. The “otherness” in the book helped him along, because it was good eating after all.

But it was heartbreaking to watch good people be twisted and manipulated. (In some ways, reading this book was timely considering how outside forces like to twist truths and manipulate people’s minds, causing them to behave in irrational ways.) I was disgusted, horrified, and angered in equal measure by the darkness that lurked under the surface of the town of Gilchrist.

You’ll find yourself hoping Peter can figure things out quickly enough to save the people he loves and himself. You’ll wonder if he finds enough answers in the book that oddly parallels his experiences in this weird town, even though the book was written years before. You’ll wish, in the end, he’d never decided to go for a drive that very first day and instead had turned toward home.

And you might want to reread this book and think about all these things again.

 

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