Sunday, March 30, 2014


As teenagers, my friends and I made fun of Dead Heads.  We didn’t like the music or the scene.  My one friend Janis has a younger sister Helene who was a Dead Head in high school and since she was adorable and sweet, I thought maybe I’d been unnecessarily harsh and judgmental but found after a modest amount of effort that I was still unable to warm up to the Dead Head phenomenon.  I’m not saying that Donny Osmond was the cat’s meow (really early teens), or that James Taylor (middle teens) was or even that Motown (my favorite for the last 30 years) was the only music worth listening to but, for the most part, other than Helene, Jerry Garcia seemed to attract musical extremists which was a real turn off for me. 

Skip ahead to today. 

I am now driving around with a license plate that says JGARCIA.

For those of you who don’t know, Jerry Garcia is the mastermind and musical talent who defined the Grateful Dead for many years.   

In my wildest dreams, this would never have been the case.  So how did it happen, you ask?

First, I fell in love with a Dead Head. 

Second, after we were married about 9 years, my husband felt he had to have a license plate that honored Jerry.  I have to admit this took some getting used to.  I had toyed around with buying him one years before (that’s progress on my part, don’t you think?)  but changed my mind when I realized that meant I’d have to look at it or hear about it all the time.  However, when David told me he ordered tags with Jerry’s name, I knew there was no escaping this.  My husband, a grown man, was going to have a license plate that advertised his musical idol.  Now everyone would know he’s one of THOSE guys.

The reality is if you know David, you’d know about his obsession with the Dead. They go hand-in-hand.  The fact that anyone could throw out a date as far back as the 1970s and he could name where the Dead played along with his review of the show pretty much says it all.  This band shaped his youth and even his adulthood in many ways, but advertising this seemed a bit over the top.  Couldn’t he keep this love affair private? 

NO, he couldn’t, and he enjoyed every minute of his new license plate.  He’d come home with tales about drivers honking, rolling down their windows and shouting stuff about the Dead, and isn’t this so cool, he’d ask?  No, it’s very weird, I wanted to say back, but instead I nodded and thought…WHATEVER.

Some months later, he decided to get a new car; I took his, and guess what happened next?   Since new cars need newly issued tags – initially, at least – I automatically inherited JGARCIA.  That’s right…it’s on my car now. 

I could’ve stomped my feet and said NO WAY, and believe me when I digested what was happening I wanted to do just that – but when David said he’d exchange the plates within a few months, I felt I had no choice but to act like a good sport about this. Plus, I couldn’t be the one to render JGARCIA homeless, not even temporarily – perish the thought – so yours truly came to the rescue.  Meanwhile, David’s had his new car for nearly 10 months, and there's no sign of a tag exchange. 

Interestingly, I’ve learned that not everyone thinks about the band when they see the license plate. I took my car in to be serviced a couple of months ago and the Volvo guy called out “GARCIA," thinking not of The Dead but that GARCIA was my last name.  He may have even thought the J stood for Judy.  That was an entertaining twist, and one that made me chuckle.  

The other twist is that, believe it or not, I like driving around with Jerry.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Party, Anyone?

One of the greatest pleasures I have in my world is proving my husband wrong or at least slightly skewed in his thinking.  It’s not often this happens but, when it does, I savor it.    

David made the comment after dinner at our favorite local hotspot the other night that men have more fun than women.  He said he noticed men joking around with each other, laughing, and clearly having a good time.  In contrast, women having dinner with their same-sex friends looked much more serious, were deeply engaged in conversation, and most likely were (based on his wife, I am sure) discussing situations revolving around conflict and other unsolvable problems. 

Excellent point, I responded.  When he put it that way, I almost wished I was more like a man.

But then I realized he’s making an assumption from a fairly limited vantage point.  Maybe we women are on a daily basis most interested in talking about weighty matters when we get together; however, I have concluded, based upon my own study, that no man knows how to have as good a time as a woman a wedding party.     

Take these two celebrations we attended this past month.  I didn’t see any men kicking off their fashionable shoes to dance; in fact, I didn’t see that many men participating at all – not with their wives or girlfriends or partners or with each other.  I also didn’t see men smiling from ear to ear or laughing hard or singing their hearts out. Women had it all over the men when it came to letting loose on the dance floor.       

While I’m sure the men were enjoying themselves in their own way, they seemed perfectly content to sit alone, engage in iPhone activity and there even a few guys circled around an iPad to watch a sporting event.  

Although I had a blast at both weddings, I’m very excited about getting together with a friend this week to catch up on life...

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Little Privacy, Please

Nothing like a memorable conversation, each and every time.

This topic, however, shouldn’t be as hush-hush in everyday life as it seems to be, however intimate it is.  Why we women tiptoe around this subject like delicate wallflowers is beyond me, and yet we do it all the time, whispering as we broach the topic, even more so as we debate it.

Take for example the other night, when I went out with an old friend and a relatively new friend. We were gabbing about everything from A to Z…one thing led to another and before long, we were huddled around the table talking about, of all things, our…gynecologists. 

It seems that talking about one’s gynecologist is taboo, or at least takes us out of our comfort zone, yet many of us have turned our bodies over to them – by my age – many times, birthday suit and all.   

OK so I have a male gynecologist who is sweet as sugar.  He brought 2 of my 3 kids into this world.  He sure knew how to make me swoon.  This guy bought me a bag of Oreos after I delivered my middle child, a pregnancy made much more challenging by gestational diabetes.  My first cookie after months and months of deprivation.  Need I say more? 

But heck…would I rather have a female gynecologist?  Absolutely!  In fact, when I had an issue a few years ago and his female counterpart was covering for him, I was secretly delighted.  Just the fact that she was a woman put me completely at ease. No need to TRY to relax or to TRY to make conversation so the exam didn’t feel as awkward as it really was.  I’d go back to her in a minute, if I didn’t feel guilty that I was cheating on him.

But would I go back to her if I knew she’s a … lesbian?

Why this question even comes up is a mystery, yet it always does, when we women talk about our gynecologists. 

How is this any different than going to a male, who we’d assume for the sake of argument, is a heterosexual?  The gynecologist who bought me the cookies appears to be, with a picture of his wife and kids on his desk, and I have no apprehension about that, so why would a lesbian pose a problem? 

Perhaps the issue is that we women want to know with relative certainty that, as irresistible as we may be, our caregiver wouldn’t take advantage of us in our most exposed and vulnerable state.  And how better to seal the deal than by seeking the attention of someone we’re relatively sure wouldn’t be attracted to women at any time, like a gay male or female heterosexual gynecologist. I certainly wouldn’t want to put all those male heterosexuals out of business, though.  They’ve kept us and our kids safe from womb through their first public cry.  They deserve better.

So while most of us end up saying it doesn’t matter if we go male, female, gay, straight, consensus seems to be – based on many conversations over the years – that women prefer to be cared for by women, regardless of their sexual preference.

That is, unless you’re my other friend who says she’d always choose a male because she thinks men are inherently smarter, but that’s a blog for another day.  

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Man's Best Friend

Life as an empty nester, other than when my youngest child is home for her college breaks, has provided quality bonding time for my husband and me.  Mealtimes are especially conducive to sharing the ups and downs of our lives and our thoughts on any given topic.

The other night at our kitchen table as I was trying to talk to David about one of my ongoing sagas – and I have to say he is a most captive audience much of the time – I noticed that while he nodded at me periodically, he was rather preoccupied ogling our doggy.  At first I just ignored it and kept talking, louder and louder, but then as their play became more intense, I realized he was totally engrossed in communicating not with his wife but with his dog.   

I told my husband that I feel like I’m competing with Shea doggy for his attention.  Without missing a beat, he said, “No, you’re not…you’ll lose every time.”

Then when I told David that he’s going to pay for that comment in my blog, he said I should add this line:  “I know there’s one thing I could never give David like Shea does:  unconditional love.”

My natural inclination was to feel somewhat offended that my husband was so quick to respond that Shea can give something so important to him that I can’t.  And talk about adding insult to injury – first I felt like the odd man out with the two of them carrying on and then I’m actually told why that’s the case. 

As they followed each other around the house the rest of the night, I thought about what David had said and decided he’s right.  Shea gives him pure and unadulterated love and affection, and there's no end to it.  No wonder David loves him so.

I also had a heart-to-heart with myself and decided that there’s no reason to feel threatened by Shea or succumb to jealousy at this point in my life when I’ve managed most of my years without it.  While their bond is powerful and transcends words, ours does too, in different ways, of course.  After all, I am David’s wife and Shea is, well, a dog.

At bedtime, the two of them headed upstairs first.  Once I finished my nighttime routine in the bathroom and walked toward our bed, there they were…David and Shea…face to face, on David’s pillow.  I climbed right in.   

I must’ve disturbed their special moment though, because the second I joined them under the covers, Shea repositioned himself to the foot of our bed. 

I guess he didn’t like being the third wheel either. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Flowers

When my husband walked in with flowers, I was a bit puzzled.

It wasn’t Mother’s Day, or my birthday, and I didn’t think we were in the throws of a heated argument.  We definitely weren’t in sync last Sunday morning, however, with agitation on my part brewing before I even got out of bed. Still, the little bit of quibbling we had been doing - via text - didn’t seem to warrant such a dramatic measure.   

I had been peeved that David left for his haircut without first walking Shea doggy, who was lying in the bed with me.  He of course had a different take on the matter. He said if Shea was still in bed, why did he have to take him out for a walk right then?  My response was that once our doggy hears his daddy going somewhere, he will most likely jump out of bed, run downstairs, start barking at other doggies he sees from the window and then I’ll be forced to take him outside right away.  Plain and simple, I wanted a morning off and was irked that he didn’t consider this as he went about his business.  

But instead of waiting till he returned home to talk about it, or better yet moving past it altogether, I felt compelled to convey my thoughts as I was experiencing them.  This is one of the more troublesome outgrowths of wishing I'd been more forthcoming with my feelings in marriage number one.  Ten years into marriage number two, watch out.

In retrospect, which is generally how my more productive thinking evolves, I handled my frustration poorly, allowing fleeting emotions to take over with unwarranted urgency and significance.  I’m sure David was asking himself why his wife got so bent out of shape over something minor in the scheme of things. That is indeed a good question. But you know how once the process of airing one’s grievances is underway, the act itself of spouting such gripes could take on a life of its own?  It could lead us down a path that has no benefits, leaving us both depleted and bitter, making it so difficult to get back on track, with the cause for the discord not only unnecessary but unclear over time.  This isn't how I want my relationship with David to play out.  

So when he returned from his haircut with bagels (expected) and flowers (not expected), I wasn’t sure what he was saying. He could see the confusion in my face and said “I just want us to enjoy today.”

I appreciated that.

He heard me, and I heard him.