Love, Sex, and #MondayBlogs

Programming note: FAQ answers have been pushed to next Monday because of VALENTINE’S DAY!!!! OMG!!!

Yes, I am very married and very happily. Thus, I don’t hate the V-Day.

I do remember what it was like to be single and sans romance back then. It sucked until the 15th, aka Cheap Chocolate Day. Then the 16th was horrific because of Migraine Because I Ate Chocolate Day.

By now, my husband and I both know what, when, and how we want our romance. We also talk to death everything and anything. This isn’t as bad as it sounds because even early on in our marriage, no one was ever surprised by a problem. If one of us cleaned out the house and were gone in a U-haul, the other would know exactly why. Something we agreed on before we married was to make communication a priority. Be kind, always, but don’t hold back if something’s going wrong.

So our plans? Earlier, we picked up the dinner for two at Hyvee. Not the deluxe because we already have a couple of lobster tails getting freezer burned. This saves us the time, expense, and irritation over sharing a romantic dinner with several hundred other cranky couples. We’re also verbally duking it out over fresh flowers versus potted plants. He wants to give me roses or at least flowers to put in a vase. I want a couple of Boston ferns to replace the ones I accidentally killed while on a book deadline. (Ferns need water more than once a month, oddly enough.) You and I know who’ll win this argument. Me.

So the bottom line for your own happy Valentine’s Day? Talk about it! Tell your crush they’re not half bad or remind your significant other of why you fell for them in the first place. You’re alone and enjoying the solitude, so nothing applies? Cool! Treat yourself, a family member, and/or a pet. Plan the route to stores you’re going to hit as soon as they open for the discounted candy. Go buy the floral rejects for yourself and enjoy. Or the best ever, take yourself out to dinner on the 15th and enjoy the quiet.

Next Monday, the faqs for reals. Before then, there’s so much going on for me professionally, and I’ll have to write all about it later this week.

Alone vs Lonely: A #mondayblogs post

Alone is pretty easy to define. You’re by yourself, a party of one, and the time where a team does have an I in it.

Lonely? Not so easy after all. Where alone is a state of being and a tangible, lonely is so much more ethereal. Everyone has heard of being lonely in a crowd and has probably experienced the feeling at least once in their life. Very few have never been the new kid in a classroom, even if they have to wait until college.

But now, Valentine’s Day is looming. All that red and pink reminds some of us how lonely being in a partnership can be. Surprisingly, I never felt one second of loneliness in the time during my husband’s deployment to Kuwait. How did we manage to stay in touch and still feel the love? Communication.

Chitchat during a war is different now that it was as recently as a couple of decades ago. In 2003, we had international phone calls once a week and email all the time. Skype and other video conferencing were new, and mail was okay but slow. I did happen to send him care packages of things he mentioned missing. With the once a day check-ins and weekly chats, we probably talked more than most busy couples have a chance to under the same roof.

How to combat this? In knitting (one of my fave hobbies), there’s a saying of “Take time to save time.” We’re supposed to do a test knit to make sure the stitches per inch is accurate. For a marriage or any other relationship, I’d say block out your time to interact with each other. Make doing so a priority and necessary for each of you. Both people must care because nothing’s sadder in a couple than being the one hand clapping.

If you’re the one initiating and not getting a response, there are a few things to try on your own.

  1. Kick it old school and write a letter by hand. Then rewrite in case you were angry about having to write one at all to get their attention. I know I’d have to.
  2. Text them a kiss. Emoji or your lips in a kiss, either work.
  3. Stop off on the way home from wherever and grab their favorite anything. No reason or occasion necessary.
  4. A phone call can be a problem for some to give or receive. We’re lucky because I’m my own boss and my husband’s workplace isn’t a pain about phone calls. I know I always love hearing his voice instead of a robocall or telemarketer. So speed dial if you can.
  5. Sex it up! Oddly enough, this wasn’t effective for me in the first couple of decades of my marriage, but this third decade is turning out to be very unusual. <-not a complaint! Everything I do now is a turn on when it never was during the early years. What do I mean by turn on? Well, for you, it may mean wearing the sexy clothes as a normal instead of a special occasion. Wear the boxers with lip kisses or the red teddy in the evenings. (Now that I think about it, our kid is older and not around as much. Sexy is a lot easier with just us in the house. LOL! Light bulb moment, right?)
  6. To get around the kids might know/hear sexytimes issue, letting your significant other pick the sexy unders you wear. This makes the undressing time after the kids are asleep a lot more fun, too.
  7. Find a similar activity you enjoy. We like long walks in the park and watching Canadian television shows, but our finding these likes didn’t happen overnight and haven’t been constant. In the beginning, we liked the Civil Air Patrol and dining out. Clearly, our tastes have changed through interest or necessity. We still have separate activities, but the ones we share are a lot of fun, too.

 

Photo0087[1]

It’s all fun and games until someone needs CPR.

Finally, if none of these ideas brings you closer together or you’ve been there, failed that, you know what to do. Talk to a professional. My job is to write about a fictional couple’s conflict and communication problems. So far I haven’t had a character seek counseling, but you never know. A story might make it necessary someday and if you need it, take advantage of the help.

Next Monday: Answering FAQ’s because my husband needs me to do so on my new website. You won’t even notice the switch except everything is much prettier.

#MondayBlogs and I want to be alone!

This post idea was shared with my husband this weekend, so no worries. It’s all good in Lauraland.

Now, on to the blog post. What happens when you’re somewhat happily married, but sick to death of the romance looming ahead on Valentine’s Day? You’ve tried everything, talked to your partner until you’re blue in the face and can’t feel the infatuation. You love the spouse, like them most of the time, but a night out or a romantic anything? Bleh and no.

What to do?

starfish on the beach at sunrise

This starfish is enjoying the peace and quiet because he’s sick of his wife’s shit.

Nothing together, that’s what. I know, I know. I’m supposed to say something about working together, getting a counselor, upping this or increasing that. Which is great if you’re newlyweds or newly anything but if you’re in your fifteenth year as a couple and are feeling more done than a charcoaled steak? You both need a relationship vacation from each other. Not that this is an excuse to play around or get into serious trouble. The goal of a relationship vacation is to remember what being alone feels like. Note: Alone is different from lonely, and I’m going into fixing that problem in the next post. 

Right now, I’m recommending giving you two enough space, so you’re able to see the other’s great qualities. The relationship vacation can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. The duration depends on your own personal needs. Some couples are refreshed in a short while, and others might need months to remember why they enjoyed their partnership.

What’s the best way to take a break? There are a lot of fun ideas, depending on your time and finances. A class in something you’d wanted to learn, a weekend out of town visiting museums, or a week visiting family and friends are all good options. A solo road trip in a luxury vehicle, a week in Tuscany, or a weekend spa treatment would be terrific on the upper financial end, and I vote yes for any of them.

Something else to notice? If you happen to have the urge to share all of this with a new love interest, find a good couples counselor. Wanting a new partner is a symptom of a deeper problem any blog post can fix. There’s a deep unmet need to deal with that requires professional help, or at least more expert than I am.

If you have any other ideas of what do to on a relationship vacation, comment below! I’d love to hear them. My husband and I spend so much time together, we do have to plan time apart just to take a small break. How about you? Is too much time together a problem, or would you like my take on a different issue? Again, comment below and thanks for reading this far.

 

Next Monday: How memory lapses and procrastination can hinder Frequently Asked Questions being answered as well as alone versus lonely. I don’t even want to go into it right now.

A #MondayBlogs About Smug Marrieds.

Single people and the theory of relativity. How are they related?

Very simple. There’s a reason the saying “The grass is always greener on the other side,” exists. Earlier in the week, I’d read something about married people being condescending toward singles. As if being married is the ultimate goal in life and you’re not a real person unless hitched to someone else. Add in the recent political remarks about some countries being much better than others, or some people weighing less or more than others, and the Theory of Relativity covers everything. No matter where you are, how low or how high, someone either wants to be where you are or would do anything to keep from being in the same place.

In my point of view, I think there’s a lot of jealous people out there trying to upsell being chained to one person. Seriously. No marriage is 100% wine and roses, and if someone says theirs is? They’re lying, delusional, giving in to their spouse, or all of the above. Married people see a single person and remember back when everything in life wasn’t a committee decision. They could eat what they wanted or not at all. Sleep the hours they prefer or not, and not be hassled about it. When you start counting everything else needing a “discussion” with a partner? You know what I mean.

man putting wedding ring on woman hand

With this ring, I chain thee to me forever. Get me a beer.

Meanwhile, singles are looking at marrieds, envying the whole partner setup. As a married, it IS nice having a best friend and business partner. There is a shared income, shared responsibilities, and a “In case of emergency” contact. I could add in the terrific sex part, but my husband would become flustered and turn nine shades of red. Let me leave it at he’s adorable and admirable.

Like everything in life, both sides have their pros and cons. I think the main thing anyone should do is embrace where they are right now. Things always can and do change, often when you don’t want them to.

Side note: All this assumes you are satisfied with your current situation. If there’s abuse, depression, or serious issues, get help and don’t delay. Life is short, and there’s no reason to tolerate the intolerable.

Next Monday: Answering Frequently Asked Questions.

Where’s The Love? An #amwriting post.

Okay, so I didn’t come up with anything romantic for yesterday because there was a little too much romance in my own life. Lunch date with my husband, grocery shopping together, a nap because it felt like -10F outside and 10F is my limit on coldness when it comes to walking in the park.

So, what now? Writing! The MLK holiday is over, and the house is quiet. I’m smashing everything I should have done yesterday into today’s schedule. Laundry, dishes, writing 6,000 words, which seems a little much. Fair warning, I might not get to my word count goal.

What am I working on? A historical romance set in Liberty, Missouri during the 1870’s. Alice, a lovely young woman from New York City, is bringing three young children to their new parents, Jack and Ellie Dryden. Only, they arrive at the Liberty depot to learn Ellie has gone back home to Boston. Does the adoption go through, or does Alice turn them over based on Jack’s promise to be a good single parent? ::cue dramatic music::

I love this story. My only problem with it is there’s not enough about the orphan situation overall. The romance needs to be front and center, and there’s nothing romantic about children selling newspapers by day and sleeping in the streets at night. In an era where birth control wasn’t as easy to find as it is today, the amount of abused, neglected, or abandoned children was incredible.  There’s no definitive number, but it’s estimated that 250,000 children and babies were sent west to new homes.

In this book, like all the other historicals I write, I’m researching to the nth degree. I have plans to photograph the depot where the kids arrive, to not use the word “kids” no matter how tempting it is, and to research 1880 farms near Jack’s fictional place.

There are three more books planned for this Pioneer Romance series. Next up is the Pony Express based story, the Santa Fe Trail story, and the Northwest Shipping story. They’re all plotted. I just need to park my butt and write them.

African lion

This guy? He’s a hint for an anthology story I’m also writing at the moment.

Meanwhile, if there’s a romantic topic you want to be researched between now and Sunday, comment below! I personally LOVE researching stuff, especially romance.

#MondayBlogs and New Year’s Romantic Resolutions

In my last blog post, I alluded to the lump in the easy chair you married years ago. With all the Valentine’s Day products in the store, expectations ratchet up to a dizzying height until the hard fall on the day of when nothing happens.

What to do? Is there anything that CAN be done without the help of pharmaceuticals or a cattle prod?

Yes! Lots of things. Here’s a handy list. Not every item will work for every couple, but there are lots of fun things to try. Some will require planning and others can be last minute.

  1. Recreate your first date, especially if it was a good one. If the time was horrible, but your love survived anyway? Great! Recreate the first date you wished you two had had back then.
  2. Flowers are popular and rightly so. But cut bouquets on THE day? Eh, expensive and I’d suggest something with a twist. Planting flowers instead of buying floral arrangements. In some parts of the world, the idea of gardening now is a bad idea. However, planning a flower garden together, visiting a local greenhouse or store’s gardening section, and working together on your flowers in the future is a fun way to bring a couple together.
  3. I personally love going out for dinner on V-Day evening. But the crowds! OMG, no. Not romantic at all. So how do you cope? Cooking together at home! Now, my husband brought home a fondue fountain, but you don’t need to be that fancy. It’s wonderful to fill it with chocolate and dip frozen strawberries. You can bake heart shaped cakes, pink cupcakes, anything you both enjoy eating.
  4. This is a little on the naughty side, but still lots of fun. Mainly because I get embarrassed and crack dumb jokes the entire time, but visit an adult store. No, it’s not something for everyone. If you’d like something a little spicy or way out there sexy, why not give it a try? I secretly want every pair of stripper shoes, but no. I have my limits.
  5. All of the prior suggestions assume you don’t have children or have a sitter in case you do. Thinking you can get someone to watch the kids for the weekend, you two can plan a simple honeymoon weekend. In one of my books, I had the hero do just that. The VERY Best Man, if you’re interested, and it’s free at the moment. Since the hero has a friend who’s a manager at a big name hotel, he arranged some time in the place’s pool and hot tub. Why not take that idea and run with it? The hotel can be as fancy as you want, or not. Room service or pizza delivery for dinner, and a weekend alone, together.

These are just a few things you can do, and the idea is to remember why you fell for this person in the first place. No matter what you try, the primary goal is you do them together. My husband loves surprising me with a small bouquet from the grocery store and a mushy card. I like surprising him by forgetting the day entirely or even better, buying him a card and misplacing it until July. I did mention he’s the romantic one of us two, right?

Which makes this a good time for reminding everyone to make time for your relationship. Nothing says you have to spend only one day out of the year for romance. It’s not as tough as you might think to plan the occasional date night. My husband and I do this, and we don’t go all fancy most of the time. We’ll find a new walking trail to explore, get a Groupon to a new restaurant, or just order a pizza and have a Netflix binge night. The main goal is to spend an evening or two together to reconnect and remember why you started liking this person to begin with.

(I had lovely photos planned but scrapped it because part of showing your love for someone is hanging around, cleaning, until the DirectTv guy shows up to fix the broken thingy so your someone can watch the game on the biggest tv in the house.)

 

Valentine’s Day in December? #MondayBlogs

Oh. My. God. This year is already on greased skids. We went to the grocery store the day after Christmas, and some proactive goobers had the Valentine’s Day merchandise on shelves. Seriously?

Happy New Year!

By the time this posts, I’ll be up five pounds and face down recovering from New Year’s wine. There’s so much pressure out there to make every second count, to share every moment with a special someone. Even worse? Society expects people to create this perfection on as little sleep and food as possible.

I happen to know a couple of people who can accomplish the feat of a sparkling life. The talent is natural to them. For all of us with tarnished lives, keep reading, and I’ll share some ideas for coping with the romantic pressure.

The crafter side of me understands the need to be on top of the next holiday. Nothing is more fun than knitting Christmas gifts on Boxing Day. I’m working on a gift for someone’s 2016 Christmas. I know, I know. As close to being done as I am, he’ll get his gift Christmas 2018 for sure.

The side who had spent a bunch of Valentine’s alone still feels that “No,” feeling when the aisles start filling with red hearts, roses, and sappy everything. It’s hitting all the lonely buttons when the whole world seems to be full of happy couples, and you’re a sad single. If you’re not glum and want a significant other for February 14th, I’ve written the solution already. Click here.

My solution for when you want to spend the holiday alone but not lonely? Don’t, because you don’t have to. Everyone has a single friend. Have a Valentine’s celebration with your best unattached pals. If I weren’t married, I’d call up my knit group friends first. They’re all fantastic people, Happy New Yearand each one makes everything much more fun. Dinner, clubbing, going on a yarn store crawl, whatever you all enjoy will work.

What if, like one of my V Days (because ‘my’ and VD don’t go together, sorry), you’re in a new town with zero single friends? Be your own date. Do something fun and esoteric just for you. Every married person knows that nine times out of ten, you’re compromising with your spouse over where to go, what to eat, what you watch on tv or movies. Enjoy your singlehood by being as wild or mild as you’d like for the day.

Bottom line? Plan now to eat all of the chocolates and toss the yucky ones without guilt. Drink all the bottle of wine whether it’s sparkling juice or the hard stuff. Watch the sappy or action-packed movie you enjoy. Go to a fancy place for dinner and dress up for the occasion. Treat yourself like the great person you are.

Next week? What to do when you’re stuck with the anti-romantic spouse on Valentine’s Day and how it’s probably too late to ask for a refund on them.