Tag Archives: relationships

The Nature of Friendship

With some of my favorite people about to move out of the neighborhood, I’ve been realizing that friendship is largely situational.

In childhood, we make friends through chance commonalities. We may live on the same street. Go to the same school — where we often become friends with the person who sits next to us because their name starts with the same letter — or play the same sport. Or fidget through the same religious services.

As adults, we might meet because our children know each other. Become friends with our co-workers. Live near each other. Volunteer for the same causes; attend the same church, mosque or synagogue; chat on a trip; or detest a common enemy.

Many connections fade without the proximity that is friendship’s oxygen. And that’s ok: they enriched our lives while we shared common experiences.

But if we’re lucky, a special few survive geographical separation because our deeper interests and affection forge a long-term bond.

So, in honor of all our besties, some wise quotes:


“An old friend will help you move. A good friend will help you move a dead body.”
Jim Hayes

“It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The holy passion of Friendship is of so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring a nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to lend money.” Mark Twain


“There is nothing like puking with somebody to make you into old friends.”
Sylvia Plath

“Friends give you a shoulder to cry on. But best friends are ready with a shovel to hurt the person who made you cry.”
Unknown


“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like ‘What about lunch?’”
A. A. Milne

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Marriage: Live, Learn, and Prosper

For my stepdaughter’s upcoming bachelorette weekend, attendees have been asked to offer a piece of marriage advice. Below are some observations to ponder, serious and otherwise.

Photo by Tara Winstead on Pexels.com
  • “A wedding may require a team of professionals; a marriage only requires two amateurs.”
  • “It’s so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.” ~Rita Rudner
  • “In olden times, sacrifices were made at the altar. They still are.”
  • “Marriage is the triumph of hope over experience.”
  • “Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards.”
    ~Benjamin Franklin”
  • “Marriage is the bond between a person who never remembers anniversaries and another who never forgets them.”
    ~Ogden Nash
  • “The best way to get most husbands to do something is to suggest that perhaps they’re too old to do it.” ~Anne Bancroft
  • “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again.”

On a less-snarky note, the following is a good checklist for how to get along in any long-term partnership. Condensed here, so click for the full article.

Remember Your Commitment
Life is busy and unpredictable. You both signed up to ride together during whatever comes your way. A foundation of love and caring helps you get through the tough times.

Assume the Best of One Another
Unless you’re married to a total rotter, your partner probably means the best. Even if they piss you off — and they will — their intentions were likely pure. So, as a general rule, assume you both have each other’s best interests in mind. (Unless proven otherwise.)

Don’t Ever Stop Trying
Make the commitment to keep being generous, showing appreciation, and saying thank you more than you probably are. Being taken for granted is never sexy.

Stop Stonewalling
This is the act of shutting down during an argument. The person stonewalling stops responding and maintains a calm exterior, which tells their partner that they don’t care at all about what they’re saying. What to do instead? Ask for a break. Then return to the discussion — sooner rather than later — when you’re ready.

Communicate Respectfully
Argue and attack the issues at hand without getting defensive, digging up the past and throwing it in the other’s face, dismissing a partner’s experience, or any other caustic habit.

Always Be Flexible
Life’s full of surprises, not always pleasant ones. A couple’s ability to ‘go with the flow’ – especially when it’s dramatically different from what they expected – gives them the opportunity to learn new skills and get to know each other in ways they might never have known before.

Curiosity Saves Couples
Your partner will likely change over time, so being open to the ways in which he or she changes can allow you to identify the ways you’ve changed as well. Shared curiosity — learning a new skill, hobby, traveling, etc. — creates new opportunities to bond.

Be Willing to Grow and Learn
Everyone screws up, says dumb things, gets stuff wrong. It’s all about how people react that defines a relationship. Being willing to admit mistakes, and apologize sincerely, is an important key in creating a deeper bond with your partner.

Stop Invalidating
This type of belittling can be incredibly destructive to a relationship, implying that what they’re doing or saying means they must be either crazy, stupid, or some combination of the two. It can happen in a quick, almost casual manner (“That’s ridiculous”), or it can be passive-aggressive, telling a partner how they should react before you even speak (“Don’t freak out, but I have to tell you something…”). Marriages thrive on mutual trust, respect, and security. Without this, the relationship will eventually corrode.

Prioritize Sex and Date Nights
When you’re busy, this means putting it on a schedule and sticking to it. Like other self-care activities (e.g., going to the gym) if you don’t block time out in your schedule, it’s not going to happen. Especially if you have young kids.

Get on the Same Page
Whether it’s how and what involvement the in-laws will have, how many activities the kids should participate in, or even when/if to have children, having the same priorities builds trust and reduces stress.

Learn How to Move On From Arguments
Disagreement is unavoidable in any marriage — as are spats, snipes, and all-out fights. “It’s important to talk about what happened afterward and own your part,” says one marriage and family therapist.

Laugh it Up
If you can laugh together, you can survive anything.

Always Be Validating
Having your partner listen, appreciate, and understand you speaks to a basic need for connection. It’s okay to disagree, as long as you respect each other.

Stop Obsessing Over Who Wins
When couples respect each other, they can accept not being right in favor of maintaining a healthy balance. Successful couples choose their battles, knowing that closeness can sometimes be more satisfying than being right.

Make Time for Self-Care
Don’t just take care of your spouse; look after yourself. That means exercising regularly, eating well, getting enough sleep, and making regular doctor and dentist appointments. Investing in yourself and your own well-being shows your partner that you want to be at your best for them.

Pay Attention to the Little Things
For couples who have mutual respect, small gestures are second-nature. A simple love note, a slightly longer hug or kiss goodbye can make your partner feel validated and appreciated.

Give One Another Space
It’s important to be supportive and engaged with your spouse. But you also can’t hover over them and try and solve all their problems for them. Have enough faith in each other to know when to step back and let them handle something on their own.

Good News Monday: A New Way to Heal a Broken Heart

Another fascinating story from StudyFinds.com

broken heart woman
(Credit: RODNAE Productions from Pexels)

Researchers discover drug that can mend the physical damage of a broken heart

by Chris Melore

MELBOURNE, Australia — From someone experiencing chest pain after a breakup, to a married couple dying within minutes of each other, there are many real examples of what doctors call broken heart syndrome. While the emotional scars are a separate issue, there may finally be a way to prevent lasting physical injury. Researchers in Australia say, for the first time, scientists have uncovered a drug that can literally mend a broken heart.

A team from Monash University find Suberanilohydroxamic acid (SAHA) can significantly improve cardiac health due to this condition. In their study, researchers used SAHA to target genes affected by a “broken heart” — or Takotsubo cardiomyopathy.

Although many may think broken heart syndrome is just a saying, doctors know it to be a very real ailment. Patients suffer a weakening of the left ventricle, the heart’s main pumping chamber. Stressful emotional triggers, usually following a traumatic event like the death of a loved one, often cause this problem. Researchers add broken heart syndrome can mimic a heart attack, causing chest pain, shortness of breath, and an irregular heartbeat.

How does SAHA heal the heart?

Suberanilohydroxamic acid is currently serving as a cancer treatment, with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approving its use. The drug works on the heart by protecting certain genes and the acetylation/deacetylation (Ac/Dc) index in particular. This is a vitally important process which regulates gene expression in humans.

“We show for the first time a drug that shows preventative and therapeutic benefit is important to a healthy heart. The drug not only slows cardiac injury, but also reverses, the damage caused to the stressed heart,” says study leader Professor Sam El-Osta from Monash Central Clinical School in a university release.

Mostly women suffer from this mysterious condition

The study finds, in western nations, broken heart syndrome almost exclusively affects women, especially after menopause. In fact, researchers say up to eight percent of women believed to be having a heart attack may actually be dealing with Takotsubo cardiomyopathy.

While the symptoms are similar, the exact cause of the physical pain of a broken heart is still a mystery. Doctors believe a surge of stress hormones flood the heart during a traumatic event. This may cause changes in the heart muscles and blood vessels which prevent the left ventricle from working properly. The result is the heavy, achy feeling people get in the chest that can be mistaken for a heart attack.

The good news is most people recover from broken heart syndrome within two months. The bad news, unfortunately, is that some patients may suffer from heart failure due to their extreme trauma. Although death from a broken heart is rare, researchers say 20 percent of patients experience some degree of heart failure. Until now, there has been no standard treatment to alleviate this condition.

“This pre-clinical study describes a new standard in preventative and therapeutic potential using a cardioprotective drug that targets genes in the heart,” Professor El-Osta concludes.

“The team is committed to the research of women’s health recognizing the uneven sex prevalence of almost 9:1 (female to male). Based on these promising results we are focused on the continued development of compounds like SAHA to improve cardiac benefit and healthier life.”

The study appears in the journal Signal Transduction and Targeted Therapy.

How to Impress a Date

Though long out of the dating “scene”, I thought this was a fun read, courtesy of StudyFinds.org.

James Bond was right! Americans say ordering a martini will definitely impress your date

by Chris Melore Share Tweet

NEW YORK — Will a bad choice at the bar sink your budding romance? Three in ten Americans say they’ve ended a date early because of what their date ordered to drink, a new study reveals.

The survey of 2,000 Americans over 21 who consume alcohol finds the first drink on a date makes a lasting first impression. Sixty percent of men in the poll agree a bad drink order would be a “deal-breaker” for them. Just 32 percent of women, however, said the same.

Top shelf dating advice

Drinks Dating Impressions

Want to win someone over right away? Take a page out of James Bond’s playbook. Three in five said a martini will make the ultimate good impression. The other drinks that leave potential partners impressed include gin and tonics (46%) and Manhattans (45%). Forty-two percent would look favorably on a date who orders a Cosmopolitan or a Whiskey Sour.

On the other hand, the drink most likely to make a bad first impression is a Long Island Iced Tea, with 22 percent saying that’s a dating deal-breaker. With so much pressure on that initial drink order, it’s no wonder over a third (37%) order a “fancy” drink while on a date.

The survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Jack Daniel’s, also reveals 62 percent think a person’s drink of choice says “a lot” about their personality. It’s for that reason two in three respondents (65%) think people should order their drink of choice on a first date to showcase who they “really are.”

The results also find four in five (79%) have a “go-to” drink that took them three years of experimenting on average to finally find.

With age comes (drinking) wisdom?

It’s not just about what goes in the drink, though, as 71 percent claim to be experts who know how to prepare their drink “the right way.”

Drinks Dating Impressions

Over half the poll actually consider themselves a “connoisseur” in their spirit of choice, but that wasn’t always the case. The average person “graduated” from low to top-shelf taste at 27 years-old and needed three years to become truly knowledgeable about their favorite spirit.

“Your drink of choice says a lot about your personality and it’s no surprise to us that classic whiskey cocktails have never gone out of style. However our friends choose to enjoy our Tennessee Whiskey, we want them to do so responsibly,” a spokesperson for Jack Daniel’s says in a statement.

The company commissioned this survey in honor of International Whiskey Day and wanted to find out just what Americans love about the spirit. Three in ten named whiskey as their favorite type of alcohol.

When it comes to whiskey-centric cocktails, drinkers say simple is better. Whiskey-colas come in as the top choice for a third of respondents. Whiskey Sours (31%), Irish Coffees (23%), and an Old Fashioned (23%) followed closely behind on the menu.

“Whiskey has always been a staple in any home bar. All of the classic whiskey cocktails that were identified by the respondents can easily be perfected at home and with the seasons changing it’s the ideal time to experiment with new recipes,” the spokesperson for Jack Daniel’s ads.

Calling All Men (and the Women Who Love Them)

This is an interesting article, especially relevant for older gentlemen.

6 Reasons Men Should Pee Sitting Down

K. Grossman Updated: Dec 12, 2020

Pee Sitting Down

The ability to pee while standing up is one that is distinctly masculine. But just because a man can pee standing up, does that mean he should? The ability to urinate while standing up is a definite plus on wilderness hikes and out in the backwoods. But is it something that should be used in the world of low toilet seats, expensive hardwood floors, and marble restrooms? Is it better for a man’s health to urinate while in the seated position? Here are six reasons why men should consider peeing sitting down.

6. It Prevents the Spread of Illness

Spread Of Illness

While urine is sterile, those splashes and puddles that accumulate on the toilet seat and floor make for sticky areas where germs can collect. When your doctor collects your urine for a urine test, the pee is sent to a lab, placed in a petri dish, and kept at body temperature to see if any bacteria grows. Since no one wants to walk into a life-sized petri dish, sitting down will keep your pee in the toilet where it belongs.

5. It May Prevent Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms

Lower Urinary Tract

The National Institutes of Health reports that sitting down while peeing can decrease lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) in men who are prone to frequent symptoms. Symptoms of LUTS are an increased frequency of urination, inability to completely empty the bladder, and an urgent need to urinate. Sitting down allows the bladder to more completely empty and prevents leftover urine from developing a bacterial infection.Related: 12 Signs You May Have a Kidney Infection

4. It Prevents Unsightly Puddles

Pee On Floor

One of the best reasons to pee sitting down is simply for the aesthetic effect. You don’t have to be a germaphobe or a neat freak to prefer using a restroom that is devoid of unsightly splashes and splatter. Bathrooms are used for more than just peeing. You might enjoy a soak in the tub, relaxing in a steamy shower, and trimming your beard at the sink. These activities aren’t so pleasant when surrounded by yellowing drips and drizzles. Peeing while sitting down ensures you don’t have to keep seeing your pee on subsequent trips to the bathroom.

3. It May Improve Prostate Health

Prostate Health

As men age, the prostate gland can become enlarged. When this happens, added pressure on the bladder can lead to incomplete emptying of the bladder. Sitting down allows for more complete relaxation of the pelvic muscles and more complete emptying of the bladder. Peeing sitting down can help prevent some of the painful symptoms of an enlarged prostate such as bladder stones and urinary tract infections.Related: 8 Prostate Cancer Myths Debunked

2. It Protects Your Floors

Protects Your Floors

The uric acid in pee can leave behind stains and odor in your tile, wooden, and ceramic floors. A landlord in Germany actually sued one of his tenants for urine damage to his marble floors. To keep your floors pristine and to avoid odors from urine damage, take a seat while emptying your bladder.

1. It Makes Your Spouse Happier

Spouse Happier

Leaving the cap off the toothpaste, hogging the blankets, and not replacing the toilet paper roll are all common disagreements among couples. Add leaving unsightly pee splatter near the toilet to that list. Sitting down to pee is one way to keep your spouse happy—especially if she is the one cleaning the bathroom. Sitting down to pee is one simple way to keep your bathroom cleaner and your wife happier. Maybe then she’ll be more willing to share the blankets.

Breaking Up is Hard to Do (Political Edition)

What a week! I would normally shy away from discussing anything political on this blog, but it’s been such a wild time that I feel compelled to dive in and mix a few metaphors.

7 million more of us saw the writing on the (bathroom obscenities) wall and anticipated a certain amount of resistance to the election results. But I do have some sympathy for those blindsided Kool-Aid drinkers who couldn’t see that their beloved was in the throes of a Hitler-in-the-bunker last stand.

Think about it. Four years is a long time to be in an intense relationship with a crazy person. There’s been a collective Stockholm Syndrome amongst these supporters who only get information from their crush and don’t want the grownups to explain that all is not as it seems. Both the highs and lows are so intense that “normal” is seen as boring. And woe betide anyone who dares say that the emperor has no clothes (ok, that’s a horrifying visual). He HAS clothes. They’re GREAT clothes. They’re the BEST clothes anyone ever had.

Well, sadly, the wannabe coup-coo dictator can’t even break up with his fan club on Twitter, like other cowards do. And unless he’s planning to write a whole lot of personal “It’s not you, it’s me” Dear Don letters, they’ll have to learn about it on the real news, i.e. the non-conspiracy, actually-validated-with-facts sort of news.

Meanwhile, expect sales of tissues and Rocky Road ice cream to go through the roof.

Ain’t love a bitch?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Marriage, Pandemic Style

Ever wished your partner would spend more time with you? How quaint! This is the universe’s way of testing our relationships. And if the data from China is any indication, we’ll be seeing a wave of divorces once people can get to their lawyers.

Not me, though; one nasty divorce was enough for a lifetime. But since 24-hour togetherness  can strain any partnership, I’m trying to follow a few rules.

  1. Spend time apart.  Encourage separate activities to create some alone time; for instance, I’ll bake or write while my husband paints or works on his computer.  And if you live in a studio apartment, try to at least identify separate work spaces. With luck, this will give each of you something to talk about every evening besides the virus.
  2. Share a laugh: a book, video, joke, photo or film. We’ve just gone through all three Cage Aux Folles movies (note: the subtitled versions are funnier than the dubbed ones).
  3. Plan things to look forward to once life returns to normal — a trip, dinner at a special restaurant, going out with friends, etc.  Fantasizing encouraged.
  4. Connect with others.  We enjoyed a Zoom cocktail hour with two of our favorite couples the other night and are going to make this a regular routine.  Cheers!
  5. Make a big bowl of popcorn and find something fun on TV.  We’ve been watching old Nick and Nora movies from the ’30’s and adventure films such as the James Bond, Kingsman and Indiana Jones franchises.  Pretty much anything that bears no resemblance to today’s world is a good choice.
  6. Stop obsessing over the news.  It helps nothing and makes both parties depressed, which isn’t conducive to a happy home.  Being informed is one thing; worrying about anything outside your own control is counterproductive.
  7. Go for a walk.  It’s reassuring to see the flowers blooming and hear the birds chirping as if the whole world weren’t going to hell in a handbasket.
  8. Take deep breaths whenever your beloved is getting on your last nerve.

My mantra: “Whatever doesn’t make you want to kill your partner makes you stronger.”

two silver colored rings on beige surface

Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

Pants On Fire

When I was a child, lying came as naturally as breathing because it was an easy way to avoid punishment. As a young adult, it also served a useful purpose: to tell someone what they wanted to hear, grease the social wheels, escape an uncomfortable situation.

It wasn’t until I realized I’d married a pathological liar that I finally decided honesty really is the best policy, even when the truth is scary (e.g., telling your kids that their father has wiped out their college funds). But first, I needed to keep up pretenses until I had my ducks in a row (divorce attorney, exit plan, safe deposit box) and could salvage what was left of my savings.

This week, I read a great piece on how to spot a liar. Wish I’d known these tips back then, and am passing it along as a public service to any of you who have — or suspect you have — liars in your personal or professional lives.

It may also come in handy as you watch the news.

animals back light beaks close up

Photo by Brandon Montrone on Pexels.com

 

S.W.A.K.*

Happy Valentine’s Day! What do I love, besides my husband, children, friends, and you, my dear readers? This week’s find: Clinique’s Chubby Stick in my-lips-but-better Fuller Fig, a rosy brown. (If you have less pink you might like the Curviest Caramel shade.)

The product has been around for years but somehow I never tried it. The moisturizing lip balm gives a subtle wash of color and feels light, not gloppy.  Won’t feather like lipstick or run like a gloss.

IMG-1715

Basic, and yet rather elegant in its functionality.

Hope you have a wonderful day and celebrate the one who loves you best: yourself!

The FOUE Effect

My colonoscopy last week prompts me to address a phenomenon I call “FOUE”, a common issue in modern life.

FOUE, pronounced “phooey” is an acronym for Fear of Unpleasant Experiences. Most of us suffer from this condition at one time or another, especially if an outcome is potentially scary:

  • Putting off a doctor visit or mammogram
  • Noticing our waistband is tight but not getting on the scale to see how bad it is (ignorance is temporary bliss)
  • Having a sinking feeling that our boss isn’t happy with us, but not asking directly
  • Avoiding confrontations with our nearest and dearest
  • Not opening a bill we know will be high, or a letter from the revenue service

As the sages say, knowledge is power.  If we confront the thing we’re worried about, we will at least know where things stand and be able to take action.

So, back to the colonoscopy and why people avoid them. If you’ve had one, you know it’s generally unpleasant — not the actual procedure, because you sleep through it, but the prep in which you drink gallons of liquid, take laxatives, and spend a day or two in the bathroom.  (Hint to you over-50’s: buy some diaper rash cream before your prep. You know what I’m talking about.)

Happily, there’s a newer option that makes this a little less icky.  Called HygIEacare, the process lets you avoid drinking the nasty prep liquid and instead have your insides flushed with warm water to make sure everything is nice and clean.

You sit in a sort of bathtub, with a pillow to lean back on, for about an hour, and can read and relax (more or less) while water flows into your tush and which you then expel whenever you feel the urge, as it were.  I won’t say it’s delightful, but it’s definitely an improvement. Highly recommended if it’s an option where you are, although it’s pricey ($245 in Austin) and not covered by insurance.

(Above, before the event: the water system, tub, me trying to relax)

The upshot: everything went well, which I attribute to taking a daily probiotic and eating more fiber than I had the previous time (five years ago).

Coincidentally, last Friday was also the 15th anniversary of my divorce from my first husband, a real a*hole. All in all, a shitty day … in a good way!