Thursday, May 26, 2011

Random Thoughts

I have never lived in a place where the garbage truck has come in the afternoon. I assume there is such a locale, but I always get stuck with the wake-up-the-kids-with-the-beeping-truck-and-banging-of-garbage-cans time slot.

I recently got a letter from my Virginia dentist's office saying they missed me and wanted to know why I hadn't been in to see them. Hand addressed to my Utah address.

When in doubt, bacon will make it taste better.

Atheism is defined as "A belief or theory that God doesn't exist." Judging by how many atheists want all traces of religion removed from public view, I would say a more accurate definition of atheism is "A belief that one should be protected from hearing or seeing anything about God, ever."

Speaking of religion, its definition should be expanded to include fanatical environmentalism.

While I'm all in favor of natural foods, I'm convinced one of the great pleasures of living in this day and age is eating Ruffles Cheddar and Sour Cream chips. I don't care if the flavor is preserved using formaldehyde. They are so good I will eat them anyway.

I am thinking about spending my entire life savings on a 60-year supply of regular light bulbs so that I don't have to use any more of the high-efficiency (read: slow to turn on, quick to burn out) variety.

Bananas must be slightly green to be considered edible.

It's too bad that something as nice as sex has been mixed up with something as disgusting as the F-word.

Quote of the day, from David, whose shirt bore the brunt of Leah's overflowing diaper: "You know you're a parent when you have poop on your shirt and, since the babies are being good, you want to keep shopping."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Other Side of Michael

For all his masquerading as a blender with the top off, Michael continually surprises me. He can be so rough-and-tumble one minute, leaping off couches, throwing toys and punching the babies, and the next he'll throw his arms around me and ask for a kiss, or pick up the dirty diapers I've just changed and take them out to the garbage without my having to say a thing.

On Monday, after tossing her cookies on the carpet, Leah was slammed with a fever and spent the rest of the day in my arms or on the couch, staring into space. Michael had the utmost sympathy for her, remembering well his own case of the barfs a few months ago and how awful he felt. "She's so sad because she's sick, Mom," he said.

In the late afternoon, I walked by the couch where Leah was resting and observed Michael sitting on the floor next to her, alternately patting her hand and her cheek and saying in soothing tones, "I'm so sorry you are sick, sweet girl," and "I love you, little sweet pea."

Suddenly, his slate was clean and my heart was full.

I love you, Little Blender.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I'm Not What I Am

The "son" of Cher, formerly known as her daughter, Chastity Bono (see, this is what happens when you name your daughter "Chastity" - irony is sure to bite you in the buns) has written a tell-all about her, um, I mean "his" experience with being a man in a woman's body, which has resulted in the hacking off of several body parts and loading up with male hormones in order to masquerade as a man.

Elsewhere in the news, a group of transgender individuals is suing New York City to be allowed to have their birth certificates changed to reflect their "true" gender.

Maybe it's just me, but doesn't it make sense that your birth certificate should list your birth statistics, because, you know, it's a birth certificate? If we're in the business of changing birth certificates to match our current status (or perceived status), why not change mine to my married name? I mean, I am married now. So what if I wasn't when I was born? Or why can't I say I was born in London or Paris? That would be so much cooler than saying I was born in Utah.

If we're so determined to acknowledge fantasy as being reality (and as long as I was born in London), I want recognition as being the Queen of England. So what if I'm not really Her Majesty? I can fake a decent British accent and I have a crown I bought from Claire's several Halloweens ago. Who's to say I'm not the queen? If I dress like her and act like her and have look-alike plastic surgery and daily doses of aging potion, doesn't that make me the queen?

If I insisted that this was my reality and that everyone around me conform to my delusion, I would have a reserved seat in a psychiatric ward. But, since Ms. Bono seems to get away with insisting that "gender is between your ears, not legs," well, then, make sure you curtsy when you leave my presence. And inform Jeeves that I would like orange juice with my breakfast. Thank you.

In all seriousness, while I may make light of the situation, my heart truly does go out to someone who is so confused about the purpose of life that radical plastic surgery is the only answer. However, I remain bewildered. Surely God is not in the business of mismatching spirits and bodies. In fact, he has said so himself, through living prophets: "Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose."

Too bad that clears up any confusion.

I really did want to be the Queen of England.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Follow-Up

Michael's behavior improved yesterday, if only marginally. Late in the afternoon, (most likely out of a sense that his hold on this earth life was tenuous at best), he grabbed the broom and volunteered to sweep the floor. I think I actually heard some rusty wheels click into gear inside his head.

Today, however, I actually had to use the sentence, "Michael, quit fishing things out of the garbage can!"

The things you think will go without saying...

Plus, in addition to giving up bathroom breaks, now I have to give up showering. See?

I was a little distraught about the no-more-showers thing (I loathe being a grease ball) until I realized -- how convenient -- the end of the world is tomorrow! Haven't you heard? Yup, the rapture is set to begin at, well, some time tomorrow. (There's a difference of opinion over what time zone takes precedence). Regardless, this means I'm all set as far as showers go. No need to take one in the morning just so I can be clean, sparkly, and ready to be thrust down to hell. Plus, if the apocalypse begins tomorrow I don't even have to sweep up the cereal! Bonus!

Of course, maybe I should shower. I suppose there is the off chance that I might be one of the lucky "few" who ascend to heaven while the six billion remaining people get incinerated (or whatever it is that is supposed to happen to them). I mean, I did once win the privilege of cleaning the porta-potties at girls camp, so you see, I actually have pretty good luck.

Besides, this morning Leah rummaged through my piano books and selected a hymnbook, whereupon she crawled into the bathroom where I was showering, opened it up, and started singing to herself in front of the shower door. In tongues.

I'm so getting into heaven.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Selective Hearing

Forget privacy or relief from bladder pressure. I'm never going to the bathroom again.

After an entire day of increasingly bad behavior and increasingly selective hearing on Michael's part, (apparently "Don't hurt the babies!" sounds a lot like "Find every way possible to hurt the babies." And "Don't make any more messes!" is easily interpreted as "Dump out your entire dresser.") I excused myself to use the restroom.

This is a small fraction of the disaster I found spread over my entire (recently mopped) kitchen floor when I emerged from the bathroom a mere two minutes later:


As soon as I came out of the bathroom and saw the Great Milk Incident of 2011, Michael high-tailed it out of the room. When I found him hiding behind the rocking chair he adopted a look of angelic innocence and declared, "Matthew and Leah did it!"

"I know Matthew and Leah did not do this by themselves, Michael. What were you doing?"

Just short of threatening to shine a bright light into his eyes, he cracked. "I was spitting the milk," he said. When I told him to go to his room he complained, "But Mom, Matthew and Leah thought it was funny!" They did, apparently, (I'd heard them laughing for a bit before the giggles turned to wails) until he started spitting on them, as his abstract art project was not just limited to the floor - both babies had been given a head-to-toe dairy bath.

After a lengthy time-out (The 57th of the day) I handed him a towel and said, "Get mopping." Then I plopped the babies in the bathtub. Ten minutes later, Michael came into the bathroom to declare his task finished, and I left him in charge of the babies for twenty seconds so I could do a quick survey of his work. When I returned to the bathroom, the lid was removed from the shampoo bottle and the whole thing had been emptied into the bathtub. Michael was actively spitting in Leah's hair.

His behavior kept escalating throughout the day until he had racked up such an extensive list of punishments that I'm not sure I'll be able to keep track of them all. He refused to eat his dinner. He slammed a cupboard door as hard as he could while Matthew's arm was in it. He walked by my pile of folded laundry and kicked over the stack of towels.

I was about three seconds from strangling him when, as David was cutting up a pre-bedtime pear for the babies, he sauntered over to the kitchen and in a contrite voice, said, "Mom, can I repent?"

I melted. "Oh, honey, of course you can repent!" I said, thoughts of hugs and bonding and forgiveness dancing through my head.

His voice changed to one of angry frustration: "NO, MOM! I didn't say 'repent!' I said 'Can I have some pear!'"

Sigh. I guess selective hearing runs in the family.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Model of Imperfection

I'm not sure what it is about the human race that makes us so prone to comparing ourselves with each other. We wander around thinking everyone lives these perfect little lives without any trials or difficulties, and gee, what's wrong with us that we can't get it together like (fill in the blank friend or family member). Those individuals whose trials we can see always appear to be handling them beautifully. We don't know they are sobbing into their pillow each night and teetering on the brink of sanity.

The problem is, we never compare with the person we should be comparing to (ourselves), and we certainly never compare apples to apples. For example, I have a totally awesome sister-in-law (seriously, she rocks!), who, while she has her difficulties, happens to have strengths that directly correspond to my weaknesses. A month or two ago she decided to take up running. She ran a couple miles the first day. Now she is training for a marathon (and liking it, what is up with that?) She looks forward to running. I, on the other hand, couldn't run around the block unless I was being chased by a herd of stampeding cows. Even then, I'd probably just decide to let them get the best of me, because, in the words of my sister, "Why should I die winded?"

But, everyone has their problems. And sometimes, those problems are pretty tough. There's even one of those feel-good sayings about how, if each person put his trials in the center of a circle and could choose, in exchange, any set of problems that had been thrown in, he would take his own difficulties back. I'm not sure I agree with that - I'm pretty certain there is some woman in war-torn Afghanistan who would love to trade places with me and my cushy American life. ("Oh, poor thing, you're depressed?" she would say. "Here, hold this grenade for me.")

But, honestly, I think we would feel better if we would all start talking a bit more about the struggles we face, rather than wrapping them up in shiny, perfect-looking packages and pretending that nothing is wrong. I'm not saying we should reveal every nook and cranny of ourselves to every person we come in contact with (heaven knows, we don't want to be exposed to all the crannies of strangers), but a little more openness could help a lot of people. We don't want to be seen as imperfect, thinking people will judge us. But, little do we know, they've been looking at us all this time and judging themselves.

There is no shame in seeking help. I'll say it again, there is no shame in seeking help. How many people suffer unnecessarily because they refuse to get the counseling or medication they need? This is why David and I have a deal: If he says to me, "Bonnie, you need help. I want you to see a counselor," I will go, no questions asked. If I say, "David, I think you might be helped by medication," he will see a doctor. And if one of us suggests marriage counseling, we will go as a pair.

Besides, there are benefits to seeing a counselor besides just the obvious emotional health boost. What better thing to have in your arsenal than the ability to say to people you don't like, "I'm sorry, but my therapist says I shouldn't talk to you."?

But, even as I say this, my perfectionist side is begging to reveal that I'm not actually seeing a counselor myself. (Mustn't come across as imperfect!) But, drum roll please... I have seen a counselor in the past for issues with depression and, wait for it, perfectionism.

There, I said it. So there, perfection!

Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Great Cyberspace Vacuum

A year and a half ago, on the cusp of leaving NYC (We have really got to stop moving every year), I was having a casual conversation in a church hallway. In the course of talking about babies or diapers or whatever aspect of motherhood it was that was weaving its way through the group, I mentioned that I was sad to be leaving. "Wait, you're moving?!" said one mom, "I was so looking forward to getting to know you better!"

"Well, you can always friend me on Facebook," I said.

"Oh no, I think Facebook is such a waste of time! I would never join."

Caught off guard by the woman's aversion to polite dishonesty, I wasn't thinking clearly when I tried a different suggestion: "Well, if you really want to know what I'm up to, you can always read my blog."

Her snort of derision could be heard all the way across the Hudson: "Oh, I never read blogs. Like I want to know all the details of someone's life."

I think I responded with something like, "Oh, well, I can see your point." And then I laughed nervously, as one is prone to do when she has just been informed that two things she enjoys doing are a complete waste of time.

(What can I say? Apparently this woman and I were not meant to be bosom buddies).

Honestly, I think there are three kinds of people in this world: those who have never heard of Facebook or blogging, those who are on Facebook or are blogging, and those who take outspoken, self-righteous satisfaction in staying off of Facebook and far away from blogging, as if they are somehow better for having avoided the great internet social vacuum, unlike the rest of us lemmings.

Obviously, this woman fell squarely into the last category. But I'd still like to know what her family is up to and we weren't close enough to warrant tracking down her email address.


Do you think she's on Twitter?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Nature Made

Boys and girls are different.

I know, I know. You are shocked. It seems so obvious I wouldn't bother saying it, but, in academic circles, letting those words escape one's lips is the supreme act of heresy. (Suggesting that innate differences between the sexes might explain some of the gender gap in scientific fields is how the President of Harvard University became the Former President of Harvard University, if you'll recall).

But seriously, do any of the people who think men and women differ only in genitalia have children of their own? I'm pretty sure they don't. Especially not boy/girl twins.

I could be running my own experiment in gender socialization vs. inborn tendencies. I haven't nudged either baby toward any particular toy, and all the playthings in our house are pretty gender neutral. Matthew and Leah have their own blankets and teddy bears, but the rest of the toys are a free-for-all collection of blocks, balls, musical instruments and stacking cups.

Hand Leah a teddy bear and she hugs it. Hand one to Matthew and he throws it. After considerable blankie-as-comfort-object conditioning ("Dear Matthew, you must attach yourself to something other than your mother..."), I've finally succeeded in attaching Matthew to his fuzzy blue friend. Leah, on the other hand, had a molecular bond with her blanket almost instantaneously. She drags it around the house all day along with her usual armful of stuffed animals, shoes, and other clothing items.

Yes, my daughter loves clothes. Actually, loves is probably too mild a word. She adores them. She squeals with delight when you put on her shoes and flaps her arms with excitement when you put on her jacket. She brings Matthew clothes and drops them in his lap, I suppose because she figures everyone should like them as much as she does.

She also likes jewelry. Put a necklace on Matthew and he will try to do one of two things: 1) Take it off or 2) Break it. Leah, on the other hand, walks around the house wearing an armful of cookie cutters as makeshift bracelets. Anything that could possibly be construed as jewelry goes around her neck or her wrist. Earphones, string, toilet paper... all acceptable items with which to accessorize.

Matthew's motto seems to be throw it, break it, or hit with it. (His older brother subscribes to the same motto, with the addition of "When you're done breaking it, lie about it.") Matthew's got a pretty good arm for a one-year-old and can launch a ball hard enough to leave a bruise right between your eyes. He loves to run cars over the floor and takes off with his walker like he's aiming to win the land-speed record.

Leah babbles and holds toys up to her ear to chat. Matthew tries to figure out how things work. Leah cradles and hugs and soothes. Matthew is obsessed with the TV remote and my iphone, and cackles like a maniac when he gets ahold of either one. After he's done experimenting, he throws them. Then he pushes them around the floor like cars.This is why the question, "Why is there a blender under the desk?" belongs in our house as comfortably as "What's for dinner?" and "Do I have to brush my teeth?" The blender was used as a car, obviously.

It seems the only thing they have in common is an equal penchant for mischief, as you can see above.

I can't wait to see what the next few years will bring.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

From the Grotesque Files

*Warning: This post contains a link with pictures that you might find disturbing. (At least I hope you find them disturbing. If you don't find them disturbing, please unfriend me on facebook). Click through at your own risk.*

I wish I had boobs. Really, I do. (There is nothing quite as depressing as weaning twins while dieting and watching your voluptuous curves morph into deflated little bean bags). That said, plastic surgery is out of the question. I mean, how embarrassing would it be to die from boob-job-related complications? "What did you die of?" "Oh, I was killed in the American Revolution. How about you?" "Um, I died because I wanted a bigger rack." Besides, who needs surgery when when there's such a thing as the wonderbra?

But, some women like the perks (pardon the pun)that a little surgical enhancement can provide, so they go under the knife. Which is understandable. Like I say, I'd love to have boobs, myself. But, as I've written about in the past, some women have taken the whole Chesty McCleavage obsession too far.

Of course, when I wrote the above-mentioned blog post, I didn't realize Ms. Gallon-of-Silicon size 38KKK would be bumped off the totem pole by someone with a pair of 26-pound bazoombas hanging from her 5'2" frame. Yes, folks, a woman by the name of Chelsea Charms has decided to become her very own Macy's Parade balloon (complete with built-in floatation devices) by surgically strapping a set of size 164 XXX watermelons onto her chest. Well, not exactly watermelons. More like planets. (Little did you know that Pluto was demoted to make room in the solar system for these babies).

It is absolutely grotesque. Her breasts look like they are in a tug-of-war with her body, which doesn't bode well.

I mean, look who won in the tug-of-war with her brain.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Wrinkles (In Time)

Child Abuse: noun (chahyld uh-byoos)
1. The physical, emotional, or sexual mistreatment of a child

Use in a sentence: A California Mom who injects her eight-year-old daughter with Botox to eliminate "wrinkles" is committing an act of child abuse.

And yet, Pageant Mom, Kerry Please-Don't-Reveal-My-Last-Name, is doing just that. Injecting botulinum toxin into her eight-year-old daughter's face (as well as waxing her pre-pubescent legs) on a regular basis to ensure that little Britney is always pageant ready.

"I'm a great mother... And nobody can tell me what I'm doing is wrong," says Kerry.

Oh really, now? Well, then, allow me:

Madam, what you are doing is WRONG.

Subjecting your eight-year-old daughter to botox and leg-waxing in the name of "beauty" is reprehensible, not to mention abusive. Eight-year-olds do not have wrinkles. Or need leg waxing. Or the shellacking, fake eyelashes, and tooth veneers so essential to these beauty pageants.

Can you imagine, Kerry, what your daughter will see when she looks in the mirror as a teenager? Or as a woman who has just given birth? If beauty means cosmetic procedures before one has even begun to reach puberty, what then? Breast implants at 16? Liposuction at 20? A face lift at 30? Congratulations, you've forever warped your daughter's body image and sense of self-worth.

A little girl is not an adult in a child-size body. Trying to rush her past her innocence using spiked heels and push-up bras is damaging enough. But injecting toxins into her face? That is off-the-charts insanity!

There is only one place this woman should be, and it is nowhere near her daughter.

Someone send this woman to jail.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

It's a... Puppy?

Alicia Silverstone of Clueless fame just gave birth to a baby. Presumably of the human variety, but I can't be sure. It's a little confusing when a new bundle of joy has a name that could place him squarely in the family dog's new litter of puppies.

Welcome to the world, Bear Blu Jarecki!

When you have need of a therapist (a near certainty, considering your parentage), I suggest touching base with Zuma Nesta Rock Rossdale and Bronx Mowgli Wentz. Or Mariah Carey's new twins, Moroccan and Monroe (Roc and Roe, get it?)

Ha. Hilarious.

You know, for all the obsessing over the safety of car seats and crib bumpers, it seems ironic that so many parents have no concerns about name-induced trauma. Psychological damage for sure.

Seriously, Roc and Roe?

Cross "Future CEO" off the list.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Yesterday, in a melancholy sort of mood, I intended to write a tribute to motherhood. It was going to be poignant and insightful with just the right touch of humor - Not enough to make to make you laugh out loud, but enough to make the corners of your mouth turn up just as you finished the moving final paragraph and a tear leaked out the corner of your right eye.

But the only words that were running through my head in regard to motherhood were those from this gem of a conversation stolen directly from our Family Home Evening last week:

David: What does Dad do for our family?
Michael: He goes to work and makes money.
David: And does he share his money with you?
Michael: Yes!
David: What does Mom do for our family?
Michael: She yells and everyone cries.

And then, I realized, it's impossible to be poignant when you have to admit your own anger management problem.

It's funny how things change. Eight years ago, convinced I was going to be handing David a positive pregnancy test about 14 days after we started trying to have a baby, I walked up and down the aisles at Target, smiling inwardly at our secret of soon-to-be parenthood as I gazed at baby shoes and pacifiers and tiny little bows meant for tiny little heads. I bought a bib that said, "I love Daddy" on it, intending to use it as my "announcement" a few weeks later.

Four years ago, after a slew of doctors, invasive testing, and failed fertility treatments, we welcomed our first little bundle of joy. And joy he was. A miniature piece of heaven wrapped in blue and tucked so securely in our hearts that it was like we'd had him forever. We spent days staring at him. We took thousands of pictures. Our gratitude was overflowing for our perfect little miracle.

"We will never get angry at him," we said. "We will never raise our voices."

And then suddenly he wasn't a baby, but a defiant little toddler with an eye for mischief and a penchant for destruction. He drew on the walls and the carpet. He played in the toilet. He stuffed a pretzel in an electrical socket. He hid my car keys, turned the oven on broil when I was making dinner for a friend, and deliberately tossed a full sippy cup out of our then 19th-story window.

I yelled sometimes. And I spanked him.

And I often felt like a failure.

Here I was with my prayed-for, longed-for, heaven-sent miracle, and I was frequently angry and frustrated. Sometimes I wanted to lock him in his room till the end of eternity.

And then, one night I looked in on him as he peacefully slept. I brushed a stray lock of hair off his forehead and gave him a kiss. I told him I was sorry and that I loved him very much. And that tomorrow, well... tomorrow would be better.

Sometimes it was, and sometimes it wasn't. But there was always a chance to forgive and to be forgiven, to love and be loved in return.

Before I had children I thought myself worthy, even deserving of them. When they didn't come as quickly or easily as I had planned, I was angry and hurt. But now I see that, in my waiting, my Father in Heaven was trying to teach me some of the greatest lessons I would need as a mother: patience, humility, and reliance on God.

I still need those lessons every day. But in all my shortcomings, one thing never changes - how much I love my children and how grateful I am to be their mother.

A Happy Mother's Day, indeed.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Say Cheese!

For any weirdo who doesn't have the funds to fly across the pond for a little human breast milk pick-me-up (Yes, "Baby Gaga" ice cream is back on the market after health officials have declared it safe for consumption), never fear. You can now get your fix in the good old US of A.

A New York University student recently gave non-squeamish folks a chance to try cheese made from human breast milk. (For some reason, the cheese variety of human breast milk products doesn't geek me out quite as much as its British cousin. Maybe because it seems less, um, authentic. But still... squick).

One self-described "adventurous eater" who tried the cheese said, "I know more about the source of this food than going into a supermarket and picking up Cheddar cheese. I don't know what they pumped into that cow."


Because random humans are certainly less likely to have strange things pumped into them.

Seriously, I lived in New York. I wouldn't trust the breast milk of anyone who has touched that city with a ten-foot pole, let alone put their fingers on a subway handrail at some point in their lives. (I'm still trying to recover mentally from the time Michael took his two-year-old pink tongue and gave the F train subway pole a good lick).


I think I'll take my chances with cows.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Sad State of Affairs

Those traditional wedding vows can be pesky little fellows: For better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. Love, comfort, honor, blah blah blah. Till death do us part. (Or, in my case, for eternity).

So demanding, aren't they? Where is the fun in those?

Wouldn't it be nicer if the officiant stood up and said, "(Handsome, Sunkissed, Bleached-tooth Underwear Model), do you take (Size Zero Barbie Doll) to be your lawfully wedded wife? To love, comfort, and honor her as long as long as she has money and beauty and no physical conditions that would interfere with your sex life? And as long as she doesn't leave the toothpaste cap on the counter or forget to have your dry-cleaning picked up on Tuesdays? Also, no stretch marks."

(HSBUM): "I do."

Officiant: "And do you (SZBD) take (HSBUM) to be your lawfully wedded husband, to love, comfort, and honor him, and make him smoothies every morning, and never screw up his DVR recordings of the World Series, till death do you part unless he gets paralyzed, ill, or mentally incapacitated? Or if you are bored, lonely, or tired of washing his socks?"

(SZBD): "I do."

Officiant: "I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride."

Ah, the stuff of fairy tales.

Honestly, for all the value people place on their marital vows these days, that is what the officiant might as well be saying.

Take, for example, the inimitable advice of Margo Howard in response to RN in Love's romantic quandary:

Dear Margo: Is an affair always wrong? I am close to a man whose wife has been in a nursing home for seven years. She has had MS for 30 years (diagnosed at 25 years old) and is physically dependent for everything. Mentally, she can carry on a conversation but is very forgetful. I was her nurse for five years, but I have not taken care of her for the past two.

In those two years, I have become close with her husband. Recently, he told me he loves me, and I feel the same — for the first time in my life. I am single, and we are middle-aged people who have both been alone for many years. I don't think he would ever divorce her, and I don't want him to. Neither of us wants to hurt her. Are we wrong to have these feelings and to act on them, especially since I was his wife's nurse? — RN in Love

Margo responds:

Dear R: I do not think the way you met your love colors the situation ... and, in fact, the way you met is not all that uncommon. I do not regard your relationship as an affair, in the accepted sense, but rather, a love affair. This man's wife is sick enough to require institutional care and can in no way be a wife. There are some spouses, granted, who could not entertain the idea of a romance while a legal spouse was still alive, but I know of many more people who have done it your way. And I see nothing wrong with it. Happiness is hard enough to find. I suggest you accept yours with an open heart. — Margo, guiltlessly

See, I told you those health-only marriage vows would come in handy...

Lest you are heartened by thinking such a debased, disgusting attitude is an anomaly, behold, a father who divorced his wife after she was left brain-damaged during delivery of their triplets (and then tried to withhold visitation rights from her).

Doesn't anyone have any shame anymore?

Ugh. Don't answer that.

Anatomy of a Kiss

I admit it. I love weddings. I love fancy dresses and happy grooms and awkward kisses at the request of little old grandmas who want to see grandbabies nine months down the road. I also love formal ceremonies and military uniforms and fairy tales involving princes and castles and happily ever after.

Needless to say, I was excited for the "Wedding of the Century" between Prince William and Kate Middleton. Not that I have any particular interest in what the royals are doing or not doing (or whom they are doing, as it were), but seriously, a royal wedding service? What's not to love? (Wait, I think this is where I'm supposed to discuss the crazy hats...)

It seemed that the entire world was equally enthralled. The dress was breathtaking. The bride was gorgeous. The ceremony was lovely.

And then came the traditional post-wedding kiss:

"Too short for the balcony at Buckingham Palace."

"Worst kiss ever!"

"Ceremonial, familial and passionless - if you blinked you missed it."

Honestly, what would these people have preferred, that Prince William engage in a game of royal tonsil hockey with his new bride? If feeling love and passion for one's spouse means one has to make a habit of tangling tongues in very public and inappropriate situations, it's no wonder we have so many marital problems.

While every new couple seems to go through a stage where their hands or lips appear to share some sort molecular bond with those of their partner, a relationship that has lasted as long as that of the newly minted Duke and Duchess of Cambridge should have rightly matured to the point that adolescent displays of "passion" are completely unnecessary.

For the record, I thought the kiss (and its follow-up smooch a few minutes later) was very romantic and sweet. Besides, what points more accurately toward future marital bliss? A hungry, slobbering kiss worthy of closed doors and low lighting? Or a sweet, simple peck on the lips, followed by blushing and giggling and happily embarrassed grins?

My money is on sweet and simple.

I wish the royal couple a lifetime of love and happiness.