Not many who visit Compendium realize I have other blogs – probably because I don’t post on them as often. If you’re interested, I’ve got two new posts up this week. One at Pragmatic Communication entitled “therefore I quote: Steve Chander” about knowledge and imagination and one at Pragmatic Communion, entitled “I’d like to think I would.” about giving, monetarily and of myself.
Hope you can click on over for a few minutes.
that make me laugh:
PinkGirl’s laughing at this one:
If you’ve got time to hang out for a few minutes, check out what else makes me laugh: Pragmatic Compendium’s “laugh!” category.
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”
Our Cupid is a nine year old girl with long blond hair. She was all about serving dinner to her dad and I tonight. He and I went out for a few hours this afternoon and she spent the time preparing a romantic “restaurant” in our dining room. She also prepared a salad. With dressing tossed in. FOUR hours before serving it. She called us no less than 5 times to ask when we would be back and to tell us the salad was ready.
Finally, FirstHusband and I arrived home. We had to enter through the garage and laundry room because we weren’t allowed into the kitchen and there was a curtain in the laundry room that FirstHusband had to hang over the entrance to the kitchen so we couldn’t see anything and spoil the surprise. Finally, we were banished to the upstairs to wait. We were sprawled out on our bed, chillin out, listening to the kitchen noises. A little impatient bickering between the chef and her recruited kitchen help (her brother), a crash, an “uh oh.” You know, stuff like that.
And we are TIRED. Her expectations are extremely high. She’s got a plan and we don’t dare deviate lest we ruin all her hard work. She’s trying to “make up” for the fact that our Valentine’s Day was spent driving from east Orlando to Tampa and back to see the musical “Wicked.” (It was a GREAT show – the tickets were one of PinkGirl’s Christmas presents.) This romantic dinner is a big deal. We will be expected to order from a menu, even though there’s only one entree to choose from. We will be expected to eat that salad.
Did I mention we’re tired? Face down in the comforter, I say: “Cupid is bossy.”
FirstHusband: “yeah. (pause) but she makes a mean soup and salad.” (pause again) “too bad they are one and the same.”
But it was really very sweet. She had costume changes between characters. We met the first server, the restaurant masseuse named Mary who gave us each a shoulder rub, the manager named Stacy, and a second server named Emma (because the first server got off work.) We got a $10 coupon with our reservation and FirstHusband got to pay with the money from PinkGirl’s Pooh Bear wallet. By paying for our meal, we got free admission to the ballroom (the family room). Dancing to Ray Charles and B.B. King singing “Sinner’s Prayer” (aka Have Mercy) she only cut in to dance with her dad once. Very sweet.
Clean up was fairly minimal. In the end, we only had one water spill, a long blond hair in my saladsoup and red candle wax on the table.
Happy Valentine’s Day. Part B.
A few days ago, I highlighted (and heckled) the worst 10 romance ideas from the book “Random Acts of Romance: surprise and delight the one you love.”
To be fair, I also highlighted 10 “pragmatic” romance ideas I actually liked, promising to post more later.
Here are some more romance ideas I really liked:
“After a romantic dinner, retire to the roof and watch the stars.”
We can actually pull this one off very easily(although not tonight, it’s pouring. and 46 degrees, expected to drop.) We have a two story house and our bedroom window opens up to the roof. We can climb out and put out a blanket on the back of the roof, facing a pond and the woods and, if we time it right, the moonlight and stars. A bottle of wine, a few pillows. I like this idea. When it’s warmer.
“Find the same perfume or cologne you wore when you and your lover first met. Sprinkle it on generously, then greet your partner with a hug and a kiss when he gets home that night.”
FirstHusband just did this one – kinda. He used to wear a cologne called “Tuscany” when we were dating. A few days before Christmas, I said, ‘I wonder if they still make Tuscany.’ FirstHusband responded with a seemingly disinterested “I dunno.” Then he gave me a bottle for Christmas. He had already purchased it before I mentioned it. Sneaky.
“Talk about the little physical things that first attracted you to one another – like those deep blue eyes or that brilliant smile.”
Easy. Sounds like rooftop talk to me, dimples.
“Listen for clues to the things your lover likes, then surprise him by buying one of the things he describes or doing on of the things he mentions.”
hmmm. Like . . . a BOAT? okay. (Long time reader update: I know. We already own a boat. But . . . long story short? It is uneconomically repairable. So we actually own big flotation device with a bunch of non-working engine parts contained inside a motor housing. Technically, not a boat if we define “boat” as something we can take out on the water and actually go somewhere on purpose rather than float aimlessly until a sea tow boat comes to drag us back into port.)
“When she least expects it, look her straight in the eyes and tell her you love her.”
We tell each other I love you pretty often, but I like the unexpected thing. Like when PinkGirl puked on him after eating breakfast on a Disney cruise. That would have been a good time to say I love you. Hopefully a non-kid-vomit opportunity will present itself.
“Listen to the music or read the writers that your sweetheart enjoys, then surprise her by starting a conversation about them.” and
“Get two copies of a book, fiction or nonfiction, so you can both read and talk about it.”
We are reading a book together and talking with each other about it, with plans to read another book together after we finish this one. Not a surprise, but still good for the talking and closeness. The music is a little more difficult. We’ve had many conversations about this. We don’t really like the same type of music. Truth be told, the only time I think FirstHusband even listens to contemporary Christian music is when I rehearse or perform. That’s okay, because Willie Nelson or George Jones aren’t on my mp3 player.
We compromise a lot. We both like Lyle Lovett. (This is one of my favorites: “She’s No Lady . . . she’s my wife”)
“Tell your partner how many times you’ve fallen in love with her throughout the years – and what triggered your feelings each time.”
Countless. In twenty years of marriage? Two years of dating before that? Countless times.
Seeing PinkGirl ralph on him while he comforted her was one, for sure. Some men would have dropped the kid – or at least held them at arms length – or handed the spewing cutie to mom.
Watching him with his son, throwing footballs in the backyard until his shoulder ached. Watching him run basketball drills with his son until after dark. Watching him put together a basketball hoop in the RAIN at 2:30 in the morning on Christmas eve . . .
Reading aloud to me while I was recovering from surgery. Being my hands and feet while I was recovering. And it wasn’t the first time. That man has seen the worst of me.
“Tell your lover something flattering every day, whether it’s about the way she smells, the curve of his biceps, her beautiful eyes – whatever.”
“Every night, remind him of something he did that day that made you happy.”
Why haven’t I always done these two?
In my opinion, the BEST time to go. Living in Central Florida, and premium annual passholders for years, we’ve been to Disney too many times to count. FirstHusband and FavoriteSon aren’t feeling the magic so much anymore, but PinkGirl and I are still Disney Freaks. She and I spent the day at Magic Kingdom on February 12th, last year and we did EVERYTHING we wanted to do in ONE day.
And, of course, no SNOW.
Here’s PinkGirl lounging in Minnie Mouse’s Living room – ALONE. No other kids in the photo. That’s because there were NO OTHER KIDS IN THE ROOM! She had the place all to herself! This photo was taken at 11:12 a.m.
Here’s PinkGirl taking a load off in Minnie Mouse’s Sunroom, (next door to Mickey’s House) – again, the only kid in the room! This photo was taken at 7:05 p.m.
Check out the rest of the photos from the visit to both Minnie and Mickey’s houses. (What? You didn’t think they lived TOGETHER did you?)
I critique myself. A LOT.
When I speak, teach or sing, I want a DVD recording. I watch my “game film.” And then I immediately focus on the weaknesses. The things I could have done better or differently and should do better or differently next time.
This consistent self-evaluation and subsequent dissatisfaction with myself frustrates FirstHusband. He wants to know why I can’t see the good. Why I can’t EVER say to myself: “Job Well Done.”
I don’t know why I do this. I’m sure I have some unaddressed emotional problem I’m suppressing and it manifests itself in this constant striving to do better.
Compliments are difficult for me to believe. I used to deflect them, until a friend told me it looked like I was fishing for more when I did that. They said that deflecting compliments prompts the person doing the complimenting to repeat and expand their complement. Not what I was going for and I HATED the idea that my compliment deflection had that result.
Compliments are even more difficult for me in a church environment. Fellow church members don’t EVER tell me anything negative. Not even friends. That’s just not what you do in church. There is one person at my church who actively, consistently “blows rainbows.” The feedback from this person has become as irrelevant as a survey with every single criteria rated as “excellent.” Polite accolades can be untruthful. They can be a LIE. It is statistically IMPOSSIBLE that I am perfect every time. NOT POSSIBLE.
I want the truth. I can HANDLE the truth. It makes me work harder, not give up and sulk.
So I seek out objective third party opinions. People who don’t know me and have no reason to abandon the truth in an effort to be polite. That’s why I started seeing a vocal coach. That’s why I record vocals for student projects at Full Sail. Strangers who don’t know me have no reason to lie. In these two situations, the people I’m singing in front of have compelling reasons to point out my weaknesses. And thankfully, in both situations, they are (1) not shy about pointing them out and (2) offering suggestions as to how to improve.
Having my weaknesses identified by a third party is . . . scary. What if I DON’T have what it takes? What if the compliments have just been polite? I watch American Idol, I see all the people who actually believe they can sing. When Simon tells them they’re horrible and Randy says, “It wasn’t good for me.” and Kara says, “I’m sorry honey, it’s a No.” there are so many singers who desperately try to convince the judges they’re wrong because “Lots of people tell me I’m really good.” How does this happen?
People lie to them. In an effort to spare their feelings, people LIE to them. People who LOVE them, LIE to them. (Okay, some of these friends and family may be tone deaf.)
I don’t want people to do that to me and I won’t do that to my kids. I’ve written about this before. About telling my kids the truth about their skill levels and helping to equip them to improve so that they can feel confident they did their best. My daughter recently got involved with a new performing arts organization. It was a scary decision for her. But she was ready. I knew she was ready. Here’s what I said to her:
“MissSkye says you are really good, but she loves you. Mom and dad love listening to you sing, but we love you too. Are you ready to find out if you’re really good? Are you ready to find out what you need to work on? Are you ready to sing in front of people who don’t know you?”
It took her about three days to decide, but in the end, she wanted the truth. She’s almost ready to start seeing the vocal coach herself.
What a brave girl. And. She’s another one of my HONEST critics.
And you know what? I’m not going doubt my emotional health because I critique myself. I’m not going to stop working hard to improve. I admit it. I hate mediocrity. I hate “good enough.”
I’ve learned that I want to strive to do my best, yes. But even more than that, I want to do what is required – in order to do my best.
A few months ago, in the spirit of romance, I picked up a book (pre-owned, of course) entitled “Random Acts of Romance: surprise and delight the one you love.” With Valentine’s Day just a few short days away, I looked through it for some Valentine ideas.
It seems I have a little problem with romance. Here are some suggestions from the book and my interpretations/reactions:
“1. Say ‘my love’ so often that it becomes you partner’s name.”
(and don’t worry. that won’t make her wonder if you forgot her name or are just being proactive in case you get her confused with your other girlfriend – or wife).
“2. Tickle each other in an elevator.”
(Never mind the security camera. Or anyone else in the elevator.)
“3. Walk your love to the car in the morning. Open the door and after he’s seated safely inside, close it gently. Kiss the glass.”
(It’s very important to make sure he’s SAFELY inside. And close it GENTLY. Enough to make the door sensors indicate it’s closed, but not enough to slam any body parts or make a loud noise. It might scare him. And kissing the glass is SOOO much better than kissing him. Just ask him. Warm lips against his right then? Or cleaning spit off the window later?)
“4. Call your mother-in-law ‘Dear’.”
(Now, that’s just gonna get someone smacked.)
“5. Meet her at the bus stop with a flower.”
(Or maybe pick her up from work? And take her to the car dealer.)
“6. At the airport, page your sweetie under a pet nickname.”
(seriously. not a good idea.)
“7. Park your car in the woods, open the doors, turn up the music, and dance in the leaves.”
(she won’t be preoccupied with thoughts of snakes, chiggers or tires getting stuck in the mud)
“8. Pretend you’re newlyweds by making a JUST MARRIED sign for the back of your car, then drive around town beeping your horn and smiling. If your budget allows, book the bridal suite at a local hotel.”
(if you’re REALLY just married, you don’t drive around town beeping the horn. You drive directly to the bridal suite)
“9. Set up a tent in your bedroom for an indoor camp-out. Pretend to be a friendly bear.”
(a friendly BEAR? THIS is romantic? are you flippin kidding me?)
“10. Slip a revealing photo of yourself into your mate’s lunch bag.”
(that will be helpful when he forgets it and a co-worker opens it up to see if they can figure out who it belongs to)
Needless to say, I’m listing this book on paperback swap.
Now, to be fair, there were some ideas I DID find to be pragmatically romantic:
“1. Borrow your partner’s car during the day and return it vacuumed, washed and waxed.”
“2. Buy massage oil formulated from his/her favorite scents – and use it often.”
“3. Serve him/her dinner and coffee when she has to bring work home, and ask what you can do around the house that would help her get her work done.”
“4. Forget the movie. Go to a coffee bar where you can reconnect.”
“5. Tell other people the special things you admire about your partner – both in and out of your partner’s presence.”
“6. Go out on the deck or patio and snuggle at dusk while the kids watch TV.”
“7. Kiss your lover at least four times a day: when you say good morning, good night, goodbye when separating for the day and hello when you reunite.”
“8. Wear silky clothing that isn’t too revealing to be seen in around the kids but still feels and looks alluring and soft to the touch.”
“9. Sometimes, feed the kids first and share dinner alone with your lover.”
“10. Instead of a roaring fire, opt for something a bit more subdued. Set a tiered candelabra, complete with scented candles, anywhere you’d like to fan the flame of romance.”
I’m going to try to post more Valentines/Romance ideas between now and the 14th. Any ideas to share? Good or bad? Past Valentine/romance experiences to share? (keep it clean, please) Post and link up in comments or just comment!
Having a little trouble with that right now. It seems blogging fell off the teeter-totter. I’m keeping up with most things. I think. I wonder what I’m forgetting.
Kids. Check. Everyone is currently home. I didn’t forget to pick anyone up from all the places I’ve driven them over the last few weeks.
Husband. Check. This year we’ll celebrate our 20th anniversary. Since November, we’ve been actively taking steps to strengthen our relationship. Since he’s already my best friend, this is proving to be . . . very rewarding.
Work. Well, kinda check. Got a problem to solve tomorrow. Unless anyone already knows which printer driver will successfully get an HP4300 to automatically print envelopes from an envelope feeder on a Windows 7 (64 bit) PC instead of sending them to the manual feed tray and forcing a prompt to load. arg.
Music. Check. Started voice lessons two weeks ago and it appears I will get worse before I get better. In trying to incorporate all I’m learning, I’m over thinking things, forgetting lyrics and sounding . . . well not sounding the way I want to sound. However, I am vocalizing to notes I haven’t hit in over 10 years. Maybe I should just lead scales on Sunday morning for praise team.
Speaking. Check. Spoke at a Prayer Retreat on January 17th. Finally got the youtube clips up:
Also FINALLY fixed the audio from another set of youtube videos I put up from October entitled “Blessings Require Change.”
Reading. Reading quite a bit actually. Currently, I have active bookmarks in:
“You Were Born for This” by Bruce Wilkinson, (FirstHusband and I are reading this together)
“The Esther Effect” by Dianna Booher,
“Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference?” by Philip Yancey,
“The Only Necessary Thing: Living a Prayerful Life” by Henri Houwen,
“Special Edition Using Microsoft Office 2007” by Ed Bott and Woody Leonhard, (I’m a freak, what can I say?)
“Couples Who Pray: The Most Intimate Act Between a Man and a Woman” by Squire Rushnell and Louise Duart and
“Eleven on Top” by Janet Evanovich (I’m forcing myself to read fiction at bedtime so I won’t try and think about anything.)
Spiritual Growth. All the reading and studying about prayer – and all the prayer – has been phenomenal. By the grace of God, I’m making time for dedicated prayer nearly every day. I’m praying that I continue. That I don’t forget him, and go back to trying to handle everything on my own. Cause I stink at it. And my world is way too small and self-involved when I leave the Lord out of it.
TV. Not so much. I admit freely. I have never seen an episode of “Lost.” I don’t even know what channel it is on or who’s on it. The only thing we are DVRing right now is American Idol (two weeks behind), Grey’s Anatomy (caught up) and Chopped.
Health. hmmm. Fighting a cold. Me and my buddies, Echinacea, Zinc and Vitamin C. Made the voice lesson and tonight’s praise team rehearsal a challenge. AND I don’t have any “sick pants” anymore. I threw them away because they were falling down. FirstHusband says that is a good thing. But. I miss them. They were giant. And flannel. I need my sick pants. Doesn’t everyone need sick pants every once in a while?
And it’s time for another mammogram. (Haven’t had one? Due for one? GET one!)
Exercise. Not doing too bad. I’m remembering to update my Exercise Log. Doing pretty good on the strength training. Not so great on the cardio. But it’s track season for FavoriteSon, so I’ll be walking while I wait on him like I did last year.
House. Still purging. We have too. much. stuff. The Red Cross picked up three big boxes and a bowling ball in January. Two more big bags are in the back of my van right now for Salvation Army drop off and I’ve been filling a box of clothes which a friend will be shipping directly to an orphanage in Haiti. I’ve signed up for DVDswap and shipped 3 DVDs within two days of listing them.
Stress. Forgot to take my Nexium for a few days and the resulting reflux flair up is causing me to sleep with my upper body elevated which caused a serious backache which I’ve been living with for days until today when I squeezed in a massage between FavoriteSon’s lunchtime haircut and PinkGirl’s after school pick-up. My back feels better but the pressure of lying face down for an hour gave me a sinus headache. Thankfully, we have some of the “real” Sudafed in the house. I took my Nexium yesterday and today. One more day and I should be back to normal. I hope I don’t forget tomorrow.
oh. and one of the cats ralphed on the seat of my office chair. neither one is claiming responsibility.