Men are from Mars

Men are From Mars

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus is the name of a best selling book authored by John Gray back in 2012. It is a great communication guide for couples, with the focus on understanding how the other thinks and feels. Far from rocket science, but important in the evolution and success of relationships.

I learned long ago, early on in my 37+ year marriage, how to get my husband to do the things I need him to do to keep our household running smoothly. The solution was/is simple. Ask for help and tell your partner how you feel. Communicate what works for you as a couple. And what does not!

Many of us women were raised to believe we have to do everything (household chores) ourselves if we want things done properly. This may have worked early in the last century, but modern women are busier than ever and smarter than that. So are men.

In defence of the men in that generation, they were raised to believe similar rubbish. Chauvinism was rampant. My husband was one of them, so were my three brothers. My mother and mother-in-law were clones of June Cleaver, looking after their children and their homes while their husbands worked outside of the home. Things got more complicated, not to mention stressful, when both mothers went back to work as soon as their youngest child was in school. All of a sudden they each had two full time jobs. My sisters and I were recruited to help out, but the males of the family were exempt.

If I learned nothing else from that experience, it was that I would not accept that archaic mentality in a partner. Making that decision a reality was tricky, but we managed to figure it out. I used to slam cupboard doors and stomp around when I was angry and frustrated with his (perceived) inability to recognize necessary household chores.

I would like to say I straightened him out, but must admit he figured it out faster than I did. He did notice the slamming doors and stomping feet after all, so made the first step by admitting his need for me to communicate (verbally) exactly what I wanted him to do. This must be why “honey do lists” became so popular. He was quite happy to “help” although learned fast that he was merely pulling his weight rather than helping. This was especially important when our three sons were young and our household was very busy.

Our sons have all grown up and moved out, with two of them proud fathers themselves. That means our family of five has extended to a family of twelve. So when we entertain the gang, I am traditionally the cook and hubby is the cleaner upper before and afterwards. Works for me!

Men have (thankfully) evolved over the years, into caring and nurturing fathers, husbands and partners. And women have evolved by losing the martyr act and encouraging their men in these roles without losing any of their superhero powers.

Men are from Mars
The way to a woman’s heart is through a clean house

As the picture above indicates, successful foreplay doesn’t have to come in the form of candy, flowers or sweet nothings whispered in our ears. Unless of course that is what you need; everyone is different. Me, I believe actions speak louder than words and gifts. I feel participating in cooking, kitchen cleanup, bath time and bed time routines is far more effective.

The moral of this story? Men may still be from Mars and women from Venus, but we can successfully co-exist on Earth if we communicate!

Five Languages of Love

Five Languages of Love

This is an old post, from 2016, with a few additions. The five languages of love are important tools in successful relationships so this post is worth repeating.

Recently I heard about “the five languages of love” so decided to research the theory.

What are the Languages of Love?

The thought process in the languages of love theory is that people vary in what they need from their partner to make them happy and content in a relationship. The five options or “languages” are listed as:

  • words of affirmation
  • acts of service
  • receiving gifts
  • quality time
  • physical touch

How to Use the Languages of Love

Simply put, if you want to be in a successful relationship, you have to know what your partner’s love language is and make sure your partner knows what your love language is, especially if they differ.  Since both people in a relationship can come from different upbringings, backgrounds, cultures, etc, their individual love languages will often be different.  Acknowledging that your partner has a different love language than you do appears to be the first step towards a successful relationship.

I would imagine that some people are content with just one language of love while others need more than one.  That’s where it might get tricky as your job in a successful relationship is to provide what your partner needs.   Some people are needier than others and needs do change throughout life. Be aware of changing needs on both sides and be prepared to adjust accordingly.  Frequent re-evaluation is highly recommended.

Do Your Homework

If you are not sure what your language of love is, ask yourself what makes you feel loved. What makes you feel unloved is important too.

Do your homework.  Find out what your partner’s language of love is.  Make sure they know what yours is. Be sure to ask them theirs and tell them yours so there is no room for misunderstanding.  Do not assume you know theirs or they know yours.

My Language of Love

I know my language of love is “acts of service.” I don’t need expensive gifts or fancy words or someone to hold my hand. I do however like to know that when I need support or something (that I cannot do myself) done, I know where to turn. 

“Acts of service” sound very rigid, almost implying contractual services. I’m pretty sure the experts do not mean that instead mean sharing duties or things that need to get done in a household. Things such as:

  • household chores like cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping
  • parenting things (I won’t call them chores) like playing, feeding, bathing, bedtime routines
  • shovelling snow and cleaning off vehicles (although I do love to shovel for exercise in the winter)

I am so impressed with how the younger generation has removed the gender-based roles in relationships. I know, I am dating myself. No longer is it only the mother/woman’s role to cook, clean, look after the kids while the father/man’s role is to go to work outside the home. Part of this evolution came about with the increase in double-income families, but another is acceptance, acknowledgment, respect, and compromise. I am so proud of my two oldest sons who have embraced this evolution, actively and emotionally committing to their roles as daddy and husband/partner.

I broaden the term “service” to include acts of kindness too. Nothing (to me) is more attractive (on anyone) than kindness. Conversely, meanness is very unattractive.

My Parents’ Language of Love

So, how do we develop our own language of love? Do we inherit it from our parents, like we inherit eye colour and other physical characteristics or interests and talents?

I assume my own preference is because my parents (at least in my perception of their relationship) used that method to show they loved each other and our family. We were not ones to express our love verbally, in fact, I don’t remember either of my parents ever saying “I love you” to each other or to us kids. But they both worked outside the home (my mom only after my youngest brother started school) to provide a home, food, and clothing for our family.

Were my parents happy in their relationship? Not always. I do know my father was devastated when my mother passed away, and her last words to me were “look after your father.”

Actions speak louder than words.

Raising our own Children

That language of love witnessed in my childhood (my husband was raised similarly) is most likely why we raised our children with the “acts of service” language. We knew no different. I know my children know we would do anything for them, still, even though they are now self-sufficient. Is that because we told them that fact often? No, but I hope we showed them with our actions.

I admit that I never gave much thought about what they needed or still need to feel loved, just assumed they knew/know.

I probably do not tell them I love them often enough; it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

The Five Languages of Love

Stress and Laughter and the Immune System

How Stress and Laughter Affect the Immune System

One minute of anger, stress, or anxiety weakens the immune system for four to five hours, while one minute of laughter boosts the immune system for over twenty-four hours.   I’ve read these profound statements in several different places recently. I believe scientists are on to something.

When chatting with a friend recently, I was reminded that anger causes stress. That conversation provided inspiration for this post.

How the Immune System Works

Better Health Channel explains the immune system as follows:

  • The immune system is a complex network of cells and proteins that defends the body against infection. 
  • The immune system keeps a record of every germ (microbe) it has ever defeated so it can recognise and destroy the microbe quickly if it enters the body again.
  • Abnormalities of the immune system can lead to allergic diseases, immunodeficiencies and autoimmune disorders.

For those reasons, it is important to keep our immune systems at peak performance.

Why Anger and Stress is Unhealthy

Think about it for a minute.  When something or someone angers you, your blood pressure rises, your heart races, and you get a sick feeling in your stomach.  I know I do.  But did you realize that the sick feeling you get can manifest into something more sinister if it persists?  

The sick feeling resulting from anger or stress spreads throughout the body, wreaking havoc on all organs. It has been scientifically proven that stress has been linked to many health conditions and disease states.

How Stress and Laughter Affect the Immune System
Photo by Inzmam Khan on Pexels.com

Why Laughter is Healthy

Conversely, after a good laugh, you feel great and stress or tension is relieved. This improves your mood, your outlook, and even your physical appearance!  Check out a previous article listing the specific scientific benefits of laughter.

Laughter is contagious as well. Difficult or awkward conversations or situations can be diffused with some levity.

Have you ever noticed that some people giggle or laugh awkwardly when stressed? It may appear that their laughter is insensitive or inappropriate, but alternatively, most likely their way of trying to diffuse the stress or awkwardness. I am one of those non-confrontational people that prefer to diffuse rather than fuel a volatile reaction.

How Stress and Laughter Affect the Immune System
Photo by Olya Kobruseva on Pexels.com

Replacing Anger and Stress in Your Life

If you find yourself in any situation that evokes prolonged and unresolvable anger, angst, tension, stress, or sadness, move on and let it go before you cause any permanent damage to your health

Personal relationships are trickier to remove yourself from, especially the long-term ones. The process is much easier said than done, with lots of complications. Professional counseling, however, will most likely encourage extrication from these relationships and offer detailed steps on how to do so.

The Covid pandemic has resulted in a major increase in mental health issues. Fortunately, awareness of these issues and support for those affected have increased as well. Many governments are now willing to spend money on mental health programs, including online options.

photo credit

Retirement Practice AKA a Long Vacation

My husband is on vacation for the next month; this will be a practice run for his looming retirement, so wish me luck. And patience.

I say patience because I have been spoiled. Retiring myself nine years ago from alarm clocks, stress, and strict schedules, my daily routine has evolved into one I am completely comfortable and enamoured with. I have gotten used to picking and choosing what I feel like doing for the day. Or week. Or month. Sounds selfish, I know, but it has been nice. And don’t get me wrong, my hubby is the rock to my kite, still the partner of my dreams, thirty-seven years in.

Last Year at this Time

Last year at this time hubby was off for three weeks, using up vacation time for the fiscal year too, but also planning to retire. With the pandemic just in its onset, although we were not able to travel, we were able to “isolate” to prepare for our granddaughter staying here while her baby brother was born.

Obviously, his retirement didn’t materialize either, another victim of the ever-lasting pandemic.

I also took advantage of my husband’s presence to get a thorough spring cleanup in my own gardens, although I did have to keep nagging him to watch out for still-dormant plants, bees, and other beneficial insects.

Renovation dreams for our cottage and home were put on hold too as supplies were limited. It took the whole summer just to replace the base for our dock, with the dock itself still needing replacement. With most stores closed to the public, we were unable to look at the options for a new one, and unfortunately, a dock is not something easily assessed online.

A Year Later

It is hard to believe one year has passed and we are now entering a second of pandemic restrictions. Everyone is pandemic weary and frustrated. Still not able to travel and still no concrete renovation plans. No new babies (grandchildren) are on the way this year; it now appears that the birth of our grandson last April was the highlight of that year.

Spring Cleaning

Spring is a great time to clean all areas of the house, inside and out. On the list are:

  • garage
  • windows
  • eavestroughs
  • removing Christmas lights
  • powerwashing front veranda and back deck

Garden Chores

Of course, there are garden chores to be shared too, with a few branches of our apple trees on the list for removal. This is the time of year to prune many trees and shrubs, and it looks like I have the manpower to do the job.

It is also a great time of year to edge the gardens if you use a natural, trench method, top-up and amend the soil, divide perennials, add mulch, clean out birdhouses, birdbaths, and the pond, rid the lawn of crabgrass, prepare containers for annuals etc, etc.

Renovations

We have had chats with a neighbour on how they renovated their (identical to ours) ensuite bathroom, so that might encourage my resident DIYer to firm up some plans. He knows I have been dreaming of a bean (freestanding) tub to soak my weary gardener bones in. I would still love to head to the cottage for a month while the work is being done, but I will accept a compromise.

Conclusions

I am looking forward to a loyal companion for my long daily walks, although we would both prefer to be walking on a warm, tropical beach. A brisk walk is great exercise and easy on my aging joints and bones. Remember, sitting is the new smoking, so any form of exercise is a good thing.

I would also like to shop for a small garden shed to fit in the back corner of my yard, something else that is hard to envision online.

Wild Birds Unlimited has moved to our neighbourhood, within walking distance, with visitors now permitted in the store. I have purchased products online since their arrival, with curbside pickups in effect due to pandemic restrictions. I know my husband will love this store as much as I do.

My honey-do and shopping lists continue to grow! Fingers crossed we will get something accomplished this year during our retirement practice.

Successful Relationships Need one Rock and one Kite…

successful relationships

This post was written years ago, but is still one of my favourite, even though it does fall into the virtue signaling category of how not to blog…

All of the successful relationships I know of are made up of one rock and one kite.

The rock is the one that thinks with their head and not their heart, (do NOT read “heartless” or  “cold-hearted” here), can be counted on to tell you the truth even when you don’t want to hear it,  can handle the truth even when it’s not pretty, and always seems to have their feet firmly on the ground.   This person has firm beliefs (I did NOT say “narrow-minded”), morals and ideals.  They are extremely loyal and dedicated to their partner.  They are also very appreciative of the role that their kite plays in their relationship.

The kite on the other hand, likes to soar.  This person has a great imagination, is often creative, is a bit of a dreamer, and can be impulsive.   Many decisions, good and bad, are made based on emotion.   Kites love to meet new people, take on new challenges and rise to the occasion.   They often need to be tugged back to the ground (read “reality” here) by their rock before they make irreversible and expensive mistakes.

I am well aware of which one I am and am extremely grateful that my husband is my rock.  A sometimes annoying rock, but a rock none the less.  The voice of reason coupled with unconditional love and support has helped me through the most challenging and stressful times in my life to date.

Which one are you?  The rock or the kite?  Whichever you are, make sure you have the other in your relationship. At the risk of repeating myself, I will say it again…

All of the successful relationships I am aware of have one rock and one kite.

photo credit

Every Successful Relationship needs one Rock and one Kite…

Every successful, long-term relationship I know of is made up of one rock and one kite…

The rock is the one that thinks with their head and not their heart, (do NOT read “heartless” or  “cold-hearted” here), can be counted on to tell you the truth even when you don’t want to hear it,  can handle the truth even when it’s not pretty, and always seems to have their feet firmly on the ground.   This person has firm beliefs (I did NOT say “narrow-minded”), morals and ideals.  They are extremely loyal and dedicated to their partner.  They are also very appreciative of the role that their kite plays in their relationship.

The kite on the other hand, likes to soar.  This person has a great imagination, is often creative, is a bit of a dreamer, and can be impulsive.   Many decisions, good and bad, are made based on emotion.   Kites love to meet new people, take on new challenges and rise to the occasion.   They often need to be tugged back to the ground (read “reality” here) by their rock before they make irreversible and expensive mistakes.

I am well aware of which one I am, and am extremely grateful that my husband is my rock.   The voice of reason coupled with unconditional love and support has helped me through the most challenging and stressful times in my life to date.

Which one are you?  The rock or the kite?  Whichever you are, make sure you have the other in your relationship…

Patrick Brown is a ruined man

mudslinging and grandstanding

Is it just me or is something fishy going on?  Patrick Brown, the (resigned) leader of the PC party, is a ruined man, regardless of whether he is innocent or guilty. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?  He has not been my choice to lead the PC party, but I think the whole scandal stinks.  Here’s why:

  • the “victims” remain anonymous
  • who talked  them into coming forward and why did they not go to the police instead of the media?
  • why did they take so long (10 years) to come forward?  Oh right, an election is coming up and a smear campaign is the best way for the Liberal party to deflect from the mess they are in.
  • what was the under aged woman doing in a bar drinking in the first place.  I wasn’t born yesterday, I know it happens, but did Patrick Brown take her there?  No.  Was he drinking?  No.  Did he buy her a drink?  Yes, but is that a crime?  If every male that meets a woman in a bar and buys her a drink is persecuted, the heterosexual orientation is doomed.
  • why did the other woman go to his home? With another male to boot.  Then when in his home agree to go into the bedroom.
  • when she (a bit late in my opinion) said NO, he took her home.  How awful and ungentlemanly. (NOT)

These are just a few of the “facts” that are swirling around this scandal.    Regardless of whether Patrick Brown is guilty or innocent, he is a ruined man.  I feel very sorry for him and any other heterosexual male playing the dating game these days, especially the ones in the public eye.

Fate or Destiny: Do you Believe?

The words fate and destiny are used interchangeably.  Do you believe in fate or destiny?  I definitely do.  So many things have happened in my life that I feel fate or destiny had a hand in.  A minor change in any of the details would have resulted in a totally different lifestyle.  Here are just a few examples, all major events in my life.

I met my husband on my 21st birthday when I was celebrating at a college pub in Kingston, Ontario.  Less than a month previous to that we were both in long-term relationships with other people.  A month after we met I would leave Kingston to return to my hometown of Cornwall to finish my college program.  Had we not met that night of my birthday, our paths would probably have never passed, and both of our lives would be very different now.

We dated for three years before marrying, but I knew within a month of meeting him that he was the one for me.  In our attempts to start a family, we suffered three stillbirths, all of which were boys.  We persevered, eventually having three healthy baby boys. 

Now a bit of an expert on the subject of pregnancies, I have since written a book:

fate

One Sunday, because it was pouring rain and cold at my husband’s family cottage, we returned to Ottawa earlier than usual, stopping to view a model home in a new subdivision in Kanata.  We loved the house so much, we made a down payment on the house that same day.

These are all examples of significant events in my life that I feel were destined to happen.  A small change of detail in any of these events and none of them would have happened.  Without the first one happening, the next two would not have occurred.

The latest example of fate happened very recently.  To support a friend’s daughter,  I had planned to drive from Ottawa to Barrie to pick up my niece, then drive to Orillia to see the musical Chicago.  Because the weather was bad with snow and freezing rain, I canceled my plans for the long drive.  I was, however, able to phone the box office of the Orillia Opera House to transfer the tickets to my niece’s name.   She invited her college roommate to go with her, but those plans did not work out either.  She then asked a contact on Tinder to go with her.  They went to the show together, had a great time, and have been dating since.  She too had been dating someone else until recently but was ready for a new relationship.  If Mother Nature had not stepped in with lousy and dangerous weather for driving, I would have been her date that night.  She may or may not have connected with this new man on Tinder at some other time, but fate intervened to make it that night.

I’m a huge believer in fate, are you??

Can you be an Orphan at Forty-Six?

Can you be considered an orphan at forty-six years of age?  I always said (still do) that when your second parent passes away you feel like an orphan. Not to diminish the pain that children who lose their parents at a young age must feel, because that is truly horrible, but I can attest to the fact that there is still pain to be felt at forty-six and counting.

My father passed away eleven years ago today and my mother twelve years prior to that. Today I am reminded by the calendar, other days a picture on social media, a commercial on TV, a precious smile from their newest great-grandson, or even something I see that I know one or both of them would love or hate.  Yesterday I ran into a friend who is planning an 80th birthday party for her mother.  Although I am happy for her and her mom, I could not help but feel a pang of envy and longing  I miss them both so much….

mom & dad

 

I grew up in Cornwall, Ontario a small city not far from Ottawa.  Now that my parents and most of their siblings have passed on, and most of my own siblings have moved far away, I feel that my connections or roots are slipping away, especially in the Cornwall area.

If you are lucky enough to have one or both parents alive, give them a hug or a phone call to show you appreciate their presence in your life.  Trust me, you will miss them when you no longer have that opportunity!

Diaper Shower to Celebrate New Baby

Have you ever heard of a diaper shower?   Since Dads are much more involved in their childrens’ lives these days, a diaper shower is a modern, male version of a baby shower, to help the men celebrate their “dad to be” status.  What an awesome idea!

My eldest son organized such a diaper shower recently for his brother to celebrate our excitement to be expecting a new addition to our family.  Did I mention I am going to be a grandmother for the first time?

The event was a pool (billiards) tournament with a box of diapers as the price of admission.  My job was to collect them in my living room and deliver the mountain of diapers to their new home…