To You, My Love

Everyone is going to post their sappiness tomorrow. But for us, tomorrow is just candy and empty platitudes. Today? Ah! Today is Friday the 13th! Today is ours.

Friday the 13th has grim connotations and dark implications for most, but we aren’t most people. You, most certainly are not most people. And much like 17 years ago, this is the first of two consecutive Friday the 13ths. A month from today will be the 17th anniversary of the day we became a thing. I tell you, the whole world shifted.

Individually, we are fire and ice. Chaos unchecked. Together, we are force unlike any other. We are more than the sum of our parts. Dangerously, we even reproduced.

You, my love, my partner in all of our adventures, not only caught my eye, but here we are 16 years and 11 months later, and I am still enthralled. I am still captivated by you. Still, we stay up too late just talking because we are still fascinated by one another.

You are, have been, and will always be, my love. You are the partner in all of my schemes, and I in yours. I am the me I am today because of you. My flame would have burnt out without you. Sometimes, you are my counter-balance keeping me from falling off the edge; other times, you are the spark that lights the fuse so I can rocket across the chasm. But generally, we strap in together and we’ll figure out the landing when we get there.

I love you, Michael. You are so very special to me, today and every day. Here’s hoping you didn’t expect a tribute on this day 16 years and 1 month prior to us becoming an us. and to all of you with your sappy tributes for the Hallmark holiday? *insert raspberry*

No, I’ll Not Be Seeing 50 Shades This Weekend

Or any time, actually. And no, not for some pretentious holier than thou reason either. You wanna get in on some ‘Mommy Porn,’ have at it for all I care. Yes, I love God and I love my husband, seeing this movie wouldn’t change any of that. Hell, maybe I should go see it. It’ll make me even more glad that I’m not married to some petulant man-child with mommy issues.

—-Links are NSFW—-

No, I haven’t read it. I tried, really I did, but the writing is so outrageously bad that I spend way too much time laughing at the clumsy narrative and terrible grammar than getting into the story*.

The elevator whisks me with terminal velocity to the twentieth floor. [Jen’s Note: She’s going up]


Which is good, because if I could get into the story I’d be completely disgusted. Rather than read through it myself, I’ve followed along with Cliff at The Pervocracy (If you have a moral issue with pornography and alternative lifestyles, you might not want to spend too much time over there. If not, you might learn something about BDSM while you’re there.).

I’m just going to cut right to the chase here. It’s still stalking, abuse, and rape even if he’s really really good looking. If he tells you that you can’t use a safe word, you don’t have a safe word. I couldn’t care less what kinky fun-times you want to have provided there is consent.

But this?

This is the first time I have ever had sex in my home, and as sex goes, I think it was pretty damn fine. But now I feel like a receptacle – an empty vessel to be filled at his whim. […] I have an overwhelming urge to cry, a sad and lonely melancholy grips and tightens round my heart. Dashing back to my bedroom, I close the door and lean against it trying to rationalize my feelings. I can’t. Sliding to the floor, I put my head in my hands as my tears begin to flow.

Yeah, that’s exactly how romance should make you feel. In bizarro world. It’s not kinky edgy romance; it’s a drawn out rape fantasy with a super-sized side order of co-dependency. He’s not dreamy; he’s a predator. Personally, I prefer my fantasy men to be confident and respectable and not the kind of guy that could be completely emasculated because his lady friend bought him breakfast at IHOP.

Ladies, Hollywood just told you that your greatest sexual fantasy is to be subjugated, stalked, and abused by a rich and handsome man. Yeah, sisterhood?

*Remember that time I used a run-on, rambly sentence to describe terrible writing? Yeah, like that.

Fifteen Years

In some ways, it seems like just yesterday and in others it seems like I’ve never known life without Michael. He’s my soul mate and my best friend. Today marks 15 years of being married to him. Best decision I ever made. Go read his post and see lots of fun pictures of us through the years.

My Mother’s Friend

Ruth is a friend of my mother. She’s lived a simple life in a trailer in rural Oklahoma raising her grandchildren on minimum wage with the help of her spouse of 20 years.

Ruth died last week, and her spouse is alone. Alone without the benefit of Ruth’s social security, her pension, nothing. You see, Sharon is Ruth’s widow.

The light-bulb went off for my mom. Why shouldn’t Sharon be entitled to the same benefits as any other widow? Why should the life they built together be so unceremoniously tossed aside? Ruth and Sharon’s relationship never hurt my traditional marriage.

This is what the marriage equality movement is fighting for. Ruth and Sharon. The right to live and love and pass that love along to their grandchildren. The right to leave your spouse with the benefits you worked for.

My mother contacted my cousin to tell him that she understood a little better what he was fighting for. Her message:

Crying over my lunch. One of my members who has become more of a friend then just someone you deal with professionally just died. These two ladies have shared their lives for many years. No matter who called they would say this is Ruth&Sharon. Well Ruth died yesterday so Sharon called me to set up an account for people to donate to so she can pay for a simple memorial service. I took care of business but now I am much closer to understanding your stance on same sex marriage Sharon now has no financial help. Love ya

My cousin turned it into something awesome because he is cool like that. He gathered donations and matched funds to be sent to Sharon as an anonymous miracle.  He did this in addition to the work he does with The Trevor Project. He is a blessing that reaches far beyond the LGBT community.

Within one day, donations reached the maximum of what he could match. Thus is the ever continuing magic of community. It gives me hope in the face of a world that seems more insane and cruel each day. This kindness won’t bring Ruth back or even fix all the wrongs and injustices, but at least Sharon doesn’t have to feel alone.

I can’t do much, but I’ll be pitching in as well. I can’t fathom the hurt of losing the love of your life and being left adrift. It’s not right and if my small donation can help lessen her burden, then it’s the least I can do. I cannot share all the details due to privacy concerns, but if you want to help too, I will act as middle-woman and get whatever funds deposited into her memorial fund. Get in touch with me or just hit the Paypal button with a note telling me that it is for Ruth and Sharon. At the very least, spare a kind thought or prayer for Sharon.

There is so much need out there. I know we are all stretched pretty thin. Please don’t feel obligated. Just know the opportunity is out there to be part of her little miracle.

To Love and Be Loved

We don’t generally do much in the annual exchange of cards, dead plants, and candy. Honestly, we don’t need a mass produced sentiment because we love each other every day. Also, I am excellent at killing my own plants.

Sure, we’re lucky, but it’s not all luck. And since I’m not a ECLFWWLINYAPASRTAWAP, I might just have something useful to share.  I’m no east coast liberal feminist type, after all. I have been happily married for 14 years, never divorced, I have 1 child, etc.

Looking for love in all the wrong places

I’m talking to the singles here.  Are you just going to the singles bar, the club, whatever in the interest of meeting your soulmate? Stop. You are wasting your time. Go do something you love that you are actually passionate about. Chances are, you’ll meet someone there that’s passionate about what you’re passionate about.  This starts you several steps ahead.

My husband and I met in the music building at the University of Central Oklahoma.  Music people are weird, so we automatically had that in common.

Ditch the script and talk

On your first date, instead of just trying to impress them enough to make sure and have a second date, try having a conversation.  Attempt to get to know each other a bit. Find out what makes them tick. You’ve already got at least one shared interest so breaking the ice should be fairly simple.  If you’ve just found the right one, the story of your first date may be one you tell your grandkids one day.

For our first date (which wasn’t technically supposed to be a date, but I digress), we went to Denny’s and shared an appetizer of chicken fingers. Being the one with disposable income at the time, I paid.  It did not make me feel like some sort of empowered woman, just an employed one. He still opened the doors and got my chair. We never finished those chicken fingers because we were so absolutely engrossed in our conversation.

Moving forward

Gentleman: Be creative.  If she demands expensive trinkets to prove your love, move on. There’s nothing wrong with lavishing her with gifts, but romance doesn’t need to be expensive.

Ladies: Don’t demand expensive tokens of affection in order to earn your continued attention.  There are particular professions where you can trade your company and affections for compensation.  That’s not a relationship.

Early in our relationship, I was up in my 3rd floor dorm room when I heard something hit the window.  Pebbles.  I looked out only to see EvylRobot standing on the sidewalk looking back at me clutching a bouquet of daffodils that he’d cut from his grandmother’s garden.

Let your relationship grow and nurture it along the way. Be best friends. The friendship will get you through a lot.

So Now It’s Permanent

You’ve exchanged vows or decided that this thing is for the long haul in some form or fashion. Don’t stop being enthralled. Always be thankful that this amazing human being chose you. Guess that makes you pretty great yourself.

Ladies: I’m looking at you. You’ve found your knight in shining armor. He’s strong and handsome. He’s skilled and intelligent. Treat him that way. Never belittle him. Yes, you are going to get angry. Talk about the actual issue, don’t tear down your man. If you’ve seen the wife on a prime time sitcom say it to her husband, you shouldn’t say it to yours.  You didn’t marry the buffoon comic relief that sells Swiffers to soccer moms between canned laughter. Treat him like the champion he is.  He was good enough to win you over, right?

Also, there is nothing wrong with catering to him and his desires to a certain extent. I’m not talking about becoming the silent mouse of a wife that waits on her husband. I mean, don’t be a self-centered slug. No, you don’t have to kill yourself at the gym in some attempt to keep the 20 year old hard-body figure that attracted him in the first place, but don’t spend all of your down time beached on the couch in unflattering pajamas either. No, you won’t be in top form and in your cutest most flattering outfit that accentuates all the right curves every day. Sometimes, you’re going to be the slug on the couch. But a little effort goes a long way. It’s not all about your appearance either. Get him his favorite ice cream, take care of his socks. Make an effort to make him feel special.

Guys: Don’t belittle your wife. She’s the lovely, engaging creature that was good enough to capture your attention, right? Don’t let anyone else whittle her down either. Sometimes that means you face off with a friend that isn’t treating her with the respect she deserves. Sometimes that means you reassure her and build her back up when she needs it. Although she may be capable, sometimes she needs you to rescue her. Be her champion.

And I bet you can guess what’s next.  You don’t get to be a slug either. Make the effort and do the things that make her happy too.  Make her feel special.

To both parties: TALK! About everything. Yes, everything.  Your hopes, your dreams, your fears, your bowel movements. Ok, keep the last one to a minimum, probably. Seriously, communication is the cornerstone for every relationship. When that little voice in the back of your head says ‘better not mention this to husband/wife,’ tell that voice to shove it and tell your significant other about it. Maybe it’s that cute intern in the office that said something flirtatious. Telling your significant other about it lowers the threat level.

Which brings me to my next point. You’re relationship is worth defending. Don’t go griping to some third party and use caution with ‘harmless’ flirtation. That not belittling thing I mentioned earlier? Yeah, especially don’t do it when they aren’t around. (I should note that seeking counseling is not griping to a third party. Seeking counseling is also not a sign that you have failed and need help. Sometimes it may be worth while to seek the guidance of a professional almost like a relationship check-up and an opportunity to make it better.)

Life is an adventure. Take your adventures together. Sometimes, they are scary and crazy and just might work (BTW- 2012 was the first profitable year for TheHolsterSite. Throwing your savings into a CD so you can take a loan out against it to buy an industrial sewing machine so the one of you that’s just been laid-off can launch a full time business from home counts as a pretty scary and crazy adventure. Turned a profit in the 3rd year, this crazy thing just might work.) Take up a new hobby together or show interest in a hobby they’ve already got. Way back at the beginning, we started this on a footing of a shared passion. Hang on to that and find more. Always treat your significant other with the respect they deserve and be deserving of the respect they give you.


Yep, your focus and schedule and priorities are going to change when you add offspring. Make sure your relationship does not take a back seat to being parents. Your job as a parent is to guide your children into adulthood. Once that task is done, you don’t want to have to get to know each other all over again. Take time for each other.

And so on

I’m not going to tell you how to raise your kids or how to divide up the household chores. We have a pretty good division of labor and ignore our chores equally. You get to figure that out on your own.

No, not every relationship will fit the pattern. Not every family will look the same. And no one can give you the formula for how it is going to work for you. Certainly not me. All I can tell you is what works for us. Do we always get it right? Nope. But we will always keep trying.

This Valentine’s Day, and everyday, if you’ve got a special someone, think about how they are special and how blessed you are to be with them.

If you don’t, be awesome anyway, and treat yourself like the impressive creature that you are.

14 Years Ago Today

14 years ago today, I pledged to spend the rest of my life with my best friend, and I am so glad I did.  We’ve shared our ups and downs and gone on many adventures. I expect we will have many more adventures in the future.  Never a dull moment.

Best Wedding Gift Ever

Williams Sonoma doesn’t carry it.  I don’t think you can even order it from Amazon.

Brad Pitt bought Angelina Jolie a shooting range and armory as a wedding present.  Good job, cute dancing monkey!

I can think of few gifts that would be more romantic.  And honestly, I think he got the idea from EvylRobot.  Or maybe those Oklahoma boys are just awesome like that.  For our 10 year wedding anniversary, EvylRobot took me out to our own shooting range.  We laid down on a blanket with a couple of rifles and spent the afternoon making targets dance across the field.

(h/t Stranger)

Hard To Believe We Were Ever So Young

That’s us.  Thirteen years ago today.  Can you believe it? Look at that full head of red hair. I had to wrestle the wedding album onto the scanner for that one.  That’s right, we got married back when they were still using film.

So far, the second decade together is even better than the first.  We’ve been through amazing adventures and only grown closer.   Sure, we’ve been through tough times, but we never would have gotten through them alone. And the years have balanced far more heavily on the good side of things.  Michael is and will always be my very best friend and one true love. I’m looking forward to many more years together.