Tag Archive | love

The Standing Proposal

Next stop, adventure!

Next stop, adventure!

After much number crunching and thoughtful on-the-ground analysis, Der’s company decided California wasn’t really the best place to set up a West Coast North American office.  The firm has chosen Vancouver, in Canada, instead.

Der left on Friday.  He asked me not to take him to the airport.

It was a strange goodbye, full of things unsaid. Till the very last moment, when his transport arrived and his bags were being loaded in.

He asked if I would come and visit him in Canada. I said of course.

He said he felt as though we had something special. I said I felt that too.

Then gave me an emerald tennis bracelet, he said he’d picked up in the Jewelry District, for practically nothing.

He hoped it would remind me of him. I said it certainly would!

And then there was a silence. We could not lose each other, because we’d never had each other.  There were never strings attached.  And yet, we have a kind of harmonious affection which adds a form to all the fluid passions.

He asked if I would reserve him Valentine’s Day — in 2016. I said two and half years was a long time, anything could happen.

He said that was true. But just in case, if we were still both free and of the same mind, would that Sunday not be the ideal day? I agreed.

We both smiled and put the day into our calendars.

Then he kissed me goodbye and drove off.

It’s [Not] Complicated?


I was having dinner with some friends the other night and the conversation turned the recent Salsa Festival (that’s salsa the food, the music, and the dance) that Der and I had been too, and then it turned to Der and I.

I tried to explain it was complicated. But “Platonia,” in her infinitely Wiccan way said, “Love is easy. That’s how you know it’s love. It’s not complicated. ”

But I’m not convinced.  Love, as described by Plato, fashionably takes into account only Me and Thee, never them and those.  But them and those often has a big impact on long-term Me and Thee relationships.

Der is a wonderful guy, but the awkwardness of his parents and mine ever sitting down together some Christmas?  It’s unimaginable. “Parents always want their children to be happy,” is a statement I find always, at it’s core, false. Parents think they’ll be happy when you’re happy, but it never seems to be true.

My dad says he was just a fun rebound for Der’s mom. She was always in love with Der’s father, they’d just had a falling out and so, for a summer, Dad and Der’s mom were a couple. In essence, Der’s mom was using Da to stick it to the man she really loved.

Now all of that’s good news.  Seemingly. Though I wished I’d asked before Der and I had the $150 DNA test — because it was the sensible thing to do. Or maybe not. The test was a complete intimacy killer from which we have yet to really recover.

Maybe my dad and Der’s mom wouldn’t have a problem with us as a couple. But there’s still my mother and Der’s father.

I can’t see my mother being over the moon to sit down with one of dad’s ex’s. It’s the modern thing to do, inviting your former lovers and their now spouses to sit down with you and your now spouse. But my mother hasn’t changed the furniture set since she married my father.

Der’s dad, though certainly more open to life as she is lived, is also deeply conservative. No doubt at least partly due to the Belgian national school system which requires pupils to spend two hours a week, for 12 years, studying morals – either humanistic or religious, depending on your folks bent.

So Der and I both know this is going nowhere. But, it’s a fun relationship so, neither of us wishes to pull the plug even though at some point we expect to drift apart. And yet, that’s ok. Being happy together for now is enough.

Hmm, I guess, Platonia was right. It’s not complicated after all.

Mes yeux on the maillot jaune


This is a visual approximation of my latest — same look in the eyes, same weird combination of refinement and horsiness. He’s sort of a friend of the family. By “sort of” I mean I might be dating my father’s ex-lover’s son.

My father was in the Service, before he met my mother. While stationed overseas, he made fast friends with a local guy. He dated this friend’s sister. But things didn’t work. She married someone else almost immediately after they broke. And, 9 months later . . . “Der Rosenkavalier” was born.

Der’s family lives in Holland. But he’s of French-Belgian parents. He’s a businessman. He works for his father’s firm. It’s all very . . . boring, except boring is definitely not a word you’d used to describe Der himself.

Der’s mother asked her brother to ask my father to send me to meet him at the airport and make sure he got settled okay.  It’s weird being in a strange city. I get that. It’s good to have someone you can call, someone to show you around and tell you the skinny.

I really did not expect to be much more than Der’s “in case of emergency” contact. But, we bonded immediately — mutual love of Le Tour.

He landed in the wee hours. After a few formalities, we went to his hotel, where he asked the desk clerk, “How can I find the Tour?”

I knew what he meant. What station did he want to tune into? But the hotel didn’t carry that station. That’s right, free porn but no Tour de France!

I explained to him that he could get the Tour on his laptop, for a small fee, while in the US. He wasn’t best pleased. So we dropped his bags and I took him to a cyclist’s cafe I know. During July, it opens when the TDF Live show starts.

We had breakfast, with various cyclists, and watched on a giant flat screen as the Australian team, Orica-GreenEDGE, redeemed themselves from the Day 1 stuck bus fiasco. After that I left him at his hotel.

He arrived unexpectedly at our 4th of July block party, with champange. “After all, the French did help the Americans win their independence.”

And then there were fireworks!

Seven Years and Two Transplants Later . . . .

The duchess with her friend Queen Victoria.

The duchess with her cousin, Queen Victoria.

Some of my friends believe I have a low-level sanity problem. They are probably right.   Truth to tell, it’s probably worse than they imagine.

Seven years ago, I was given five Duchesse de Nemours peonies as a Christmas gift. I  kept them in pots on a patio. They greened up, but didn’t bloom.

The second year, I moved them all to semi-shaded spot in the back garden. But one died of pot to garden transplanting.  The third year all four sprouted. But as mine is not a peony friendly climate; two died off of heat prostration and the other two greened but never flowered.

The fourth year, the two came up again. But again they did not flower. The fifth year only one came up. I tented it, to keep it from the extreme heat, I watered religiously, and though it survived got a bit bushy, it didn’t bloom.

The sixth year, I discovered peonies did not like afternoon sun (thank you, P Allen Smith!), and as I was moving anyway, I dug up my last precious plant and took it with me.

(Anyone who tells you bloom where you’re planted is a complete moron. You bloom where conditions are right or you never do. So if conditions are not right, you must transplant yourself! Duh.)

This time I placed it in the morning sun, with perfect peony conditions. It survived the very late season transplanting, doubled in size, but eventually died back without flowering.

And now it is year seven. I have just discovered my duchess sprouting up again. And I am hopeful for a blossom this year, perhaps in May or June.

I know not many people would wait seven years (or more) for a single blossom. But that’s who I am. I don’t give up on things I love. Not ever. I have infinite faith, infinite patience, infinite endurance.

I suppose it does sound odd, especially coming from me. But if you’d ever seen the Duchesse or even caught a whiff of her scent in passing, you’d understand. Some things are worth all the bother . . . now that sounds like me!


Play the hand your dealt

love-300x240I ran into a former friend in the Emerald City, at Easter Mass — because I’m an Easter, Christmas sort of Christian. I didn’t know he was anywhere near my bailiwick and was rather surprised, but pleasantly so.

“Marcel” was just as handsome and charming as I’d remembered. He felt our chance meeting was Fate. He asked if he might meet me later that week over coffee.

I love a good Chai Latte, and it would be in a public place, so . . . I said yes. I regretted it immediately, but the die was cast.

We had a long chat about many things. It was all very much like old times, right up until he pulled the rip cord and asked

“Why didn’t it work out between us?”

I didn’t answer him. I simply lifted a skeptical brow. But apparently he had no clue even though his recollection of our final moments was fairly accurate. After dinner one night, we took a long stroll during during which I ‘suddenly and inexplicably’ released him back into the wild.

He didn’t recall that during that walk I’d told him I’d once considered becoming a nun. Or that he hadn’t understood I was deadly serious. Or that he laughed at me, and the very idea of me in cloisters.

But for me? His laugh was a dagger to the heart of our relationship and it a big part of why I chose to end it then and there.

And now he’d brought it all up again. It was vividly in my mind. The truth very much ready to leap off the tip of my angry tongue. But I was good. I gave a little shrug and said I couldn’t recall the why of it.

He said he supposed it was something to do with his going to Canada and my not wishing to follow him. I did agree or disagree.

We parted ways shortly after that. I wished him well, gave him my card (yes, I still carry calling cards), then I took a long walk around the lake.

It’s strange how life goes. For Marcel and I, love just wasn’t in the cards. But I think that somehow, because of me, because of that conversation he can’t quite remember, he found his love. And that makes me happy. Though, I’m sure at he never expected he’d end up a Capuchin friar!


The conversation

It's ok. I still love you.

It’s ok. I still love you.

Me sitting at Starbucks with a friend, 20 miles from my hometown. Cellphone rings.

Me: Hello, Gran. Is everything ok?

Gran: Yes, I’m just calling to tell your alarm has been going off.

Me: What alarm?

Gran: On your phone. It’s been going off for a while. To remind you to take your  medication.

Me (sigh, long pause) holding my phone: Gran, it’s not my phone, because I have my phone with me. I’m talking to you on it. It must be your phone alarm.

Gran (adamant): No, it’s not my phone. It’s yours.

Me: Are you on your phone now?

Gran: Yes.

Me: And do you hear the ringing still?

Gran: No.  But it’s not my phone that’s been ringing.

Me: Maybe it was your house phone and not your cell phone.

Gran: Well, look, I just called to tell you your alarm went off, ok?

Me: Ok.  Did you take your medication?

Gran: Of course.

Me: Ok. Love you, Gran. I’ll stop by on my way home. Ok.

Gran: Ok. Bye.

Me: Bye.

You know, you could die doing that


I hear this a lot from people. I’m not sure why they bother to point that out. Odds are, I’ll be doing something when I die, so why not “that“? So long as that is something I love or want to do.

Eamonn Kilbride (age 46) collapsed with chest pains at his office Christmas party in Blackburn while performing the dance moves from Psy’s “Gangnam Style” video. The father of three subsequently died. Middle-aged men in the UK have since been warned against dancing Gangnam Style.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Professor Bernard Keavney, a cardiologist at Newcastle University, warned older men not to “stray outside your comfort zone. The chance that you’ll come to grief is very small. But as with any form of untypical exercise… be somewhat measured.

Sorry, Bernard, but I love to stray outside my comfort zone and if I come to grief, so what? You blokes can live a measured wall-flower life you want. I’d rather die on the dance floor living an all out Gangnam Style full one.

The Paperwhites





So Winter Fling (think Aragorn, but with less of an accent) brought me a plastic bag stamped Home Depot the other night. Romantic? Yes.


It contained a box of paperwhites (Narcissus papyraceus to be exact), a plastic pot, and a ball of coir medium. Home Depot/science project/ daffodils? Fling totally gets me. Bless him.

Paperwhites are the perfect flower for indoor winter growing. They bloom in a few weeks, and fill your home with a wonderful musk scent. When they die back, you can plant them in the garden for next spring. Short-term pleasure; long-term joy.





I may have to keep Fling past New Year’s. Maybe till the start of Lent (Feb 13th)? But, then what about Valentine’s Day?

Oh, why does love have to be so complicated! Why can’t I just force it to bloom when I want and then when I’m done with it bury it out in the garden!




Is this cover really so bad it should be banned from display?

ePUB Cover

So, this is the cover, for the ePUB version.

I believe a cover and title should tell the reader what to expect from my book, and this cover and title do just that. If you read Lily Does Sweden, you will definitely agree I was 100% what you see is what you got.

Of course, what you see depends on you, just as what culture you come from slants how you see another culture you may visit.* That’s why, on the cover of the hard copy, I had the publisher add “A cross-cultural (mis-)adventure.” (See below.)

Trade Paperback Cover

As for the book’s content, I am totally honest about that too. It’s a departure for the publisher, in that it does have mature themes, a couple erotic escapades, and some frank language. But that being said, the 314-page book (in 6 x 9 format) is primarily a travel adventure mystery/romantic comedy set in Sweden about the perils of thinking you understand something you really don’t — such as another person’s culture. A fact I make pretty clear on the back cover!

Trade Paperback Back Cover

For those of you who have never been to Sweden, it’s very different from other first-world Western countries. This book draws on American vs Swedish cross-cultural disconnects to produce a story that’s both a darn good read and yet humorously informative.

Yes, it’s got erotic escapades. But if you find non-violent, non-sadomasochistic intimacy between two unattached, unmarried, non-religious people of the same race so bad or so controversial you want to ban this book or its cover, you may want to move to a totalitarian theocracy in the Middle East.

Lily Does Sweden is already up for sale digitally ($1.99) through Amazon (click here for Kindle), although Amazon doesn’t yet have a spot for the physical book.

Although Lily Does Sweden was uploaded to Barnes and Noble for a Nook edition, Sept 24th, they are still processing it. I’m not sure why. However, Barnes and Noble has a place holder for the physical book as a pre-order, ($14.99 retail, but about $10.11 through B&N), so . . . apparently they’re willing to sell it.

Lily Does Sweden is also available through third-party ePUB retailers that sell Adobe Digital Editions ePUBs. I have to work on that this week.

The print version went to LSI (the printer) on the 18th of Sept and is also taking an unusually long time to set up. Again, I’m not sure why; however, an email was sent asking for an update. Lighting Source International recently upgraded their computer system and perhaps lost some files or got behind as a result. I’ll keep you posted.

For more details, such as ISBNs, etc. hit the Page dedicated to the book. To voice your opinion . . .

*{When you look at the cover, what do you see? Two naked people? Or two people in bathing suits (which you can’t discern)? Two friends just horsing around? Or two lovers having sex?}

The Mea Queen

Reflecting on this week of celebration in honor of the Queen of England, I have to say I was reminded once again of the value of . . .  me. After all, in my own life, I am the queen. I decide and decree, no one else.

It’s rather a daunting thing really, to be queen of all one surveys (in the mirror). And when things go wrong, as they sometimes do, mea culpa. How does one best govern oneself and one’s world? It is, alas, a puzzlement. For you see, to order the world to my liking is, in the eyes of others, to leave the world to nature’s disorder.

I love the fragile fractal beauty of things as they are. The transit of Venus, moving along its orderly path, momentarily presents a random spot of beauty on the face of the sun. To allow all things to wander their ordered paths, intersecting through the centuries, creating exaltations of fancy, pleasures sublime, and wonderous revelations, oh that is my decree!