Category Archives: Family, Friends and other Humans

cry me a river

The David and I have been seeing a couples counselor once a week for about 7 months.

We’ve been together going on 4 years now and still aren’t really sure about some of the big questions… are you the one?  do we want to get married?  or have kids?  how do we reconcile you giving off the heat of a thousand suns with my charming propensity to get sweaty in my sleep?

Counseling is supposed to help with all that.

But me being me, it mostly feels like a medieval device engineered specifically to drive me to the highest levels of torment.  There’s a lot of “Can you make space for David’s trigger points?” and “How does it make you feel to hear Maggie share something like that?”  Her master plan is that if there’s oodles of communication, then there will be closeness and it will be “yummy.”
In all fairness, The David seems to like it.  He’s much more sensitive than I am, so he really gets into having these opportunities to open up.  But I’m wired differently; I will share information and I’m pretty straightforward and honest, but I don’t need to talk about feelings so much.

Last night was our last session before The David leaves for his month-long trip to Argentina and she wanted to talk about how we felt about this pending separation.

And it went a bit like this:

Maggie:  I feel sad about it.

Counselor:  What does that sadness feel like?  Do you feel it in your body somewhere?

Maggie:  Mostly in my eyeballs.  Like I want to cry.

Counselor:  Why don’t you cry then?

Maggie:  It’s silly to cry about something that hasn’t even happened yet.

Counselor:  Isn’t it judgmental to call your feelings silly?  You should be allowed to cry.  Why don’t you zero in on these feelings?

I try to zero in on feeling sad.  Sadness ensues.  A few leaky tears escape.

And then I don’t even know.  Something like:

Counselor:  You feel sad?  How sad?  Really sad?  Are you really *feeling* the sadness?  Breath into it!  Look at David!  Let him feel your sadness!  Really really sad?

Until I am full on sobbing.  And snotting up a storm.  Wadded up tissues are piling up ridiculously.  No matter how much I toot and squirt, I can’t breath through my nose.  So I am mouth breathing.  I can’t talk without gasping and squeaking.  My nose is on fire from the scratchy sub par tissues.  My eyeballs feel about 3 sizes too large for their sockets and I’ve got a low thrumming headache.

I am tapping on David’s hand in a far fetched wish that I knew Morse code, that David knew Morse code, and that I could beg him to get me out of there.

And she is telling us how beautiful this is and how much love she is seeing.

Love is not the thing I am feeling.

But The David is feeling touched by just how sad I am that he’s leaving and protective that I’ve been all vulnerable.  And he didn’t have to talk about feeling sad about anything, so it’s all fine over there.  I’m the only one on Planet Insanadoo.

I guess I was supposed to feel better after having a good cry.  It should be cathartic?  And I feel all connected because I exposed my sad, sad underbelly?

Instead, I am exhausted and defeated and should clearly be lying quietly in the dark somewhere with chilled pads on my eyes.

And realizing that a month long separation from The David comes with a wonderful gift:  a month off from couples counseling.


Filed under Dating, The David

someone else’s sadness

A friend’s father died last week and I can’t stop thinking about it.

I haven’t suffered this particular life event, so I can only imagine how horribly sad she must feel.  But I am filled with the imaginings of, all things being equal, something we all have to go through.

So I think and then force myself to stop thinking about my own fears.  And I think about my friend, wishing there was more I could do… that I could just magic away the sadness.

But all I really know to do is to just say that I’m here.

What do you do to comfort someone’s sadness?

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Filed under Girl land


The David is getting his eyes lasered today.  I can hardly believe that such a technology even exists.  I don’t like to think about eyeballs in the best of circumstances.  Contemplating the process of cutting a flap in the eye and then zapping around in there with a laser beam… well, just.  Shock.  Horror.  Yuckeroni.

Even though I know it will be fine and that lots of people have done it, it’s still rather terrifying.

The fear aside, I also feel rather strangely about how he just won’t have glasses anymore.  He really can’t see at all without glasses, so they are a real part of his face and I can’t believe that he just won’t have them any more.  This is a face that I’m so used to, a face that I love, and it’s about to change.







































Filed under The David

dirty mouth

Parenting is fascinating.

I love hearing stories about how people contend with those little hooligans and how parents try to retain control in a world ruled by creatures free from reason and logic.

My experience in parenting is limited to the recollections I have of what my own parents did and what other people tell me now.  And those two things are really different these days.

My brother told me yesterday that he offers “stern advice” when his 3 year old is acting up.  And a coworker says that they just ignore bad behavior until it goes away.

Which is a much kinder and gentler nation than the one me and my brothers grew up in.  But it was all different then and, like a lot of things, there are trends in parenting, I guess.

I am not really sure what my own philosophy will be if I have my own kids, but I do like pondering.  I do know that I have a small sense of pride that I survived childhood in the 80’s, a time when my elementary school principal had and used a paddle and the teachers whacked kids on the knuckles with a ruler.

Not that I ever got any whackings at school.  ‘Cause I was awesome.  And a big nerd.

But I was just thinking about how my dad used to wash my mouth out with soap if I told a lie or used a bad word, and just how absurd of a punishment that is.  Like, who wants to stick a bar of soap into the mouth of a squirmy squalling little minion and try to rub it around in there?  Seems like an awful lot of hassle to me.

Obviously, I was not a fan of this treatment.  It was a major suckage.  But, despite how awful it was, it did little to stop my lying ways or me from calling one brother or another a Yuck Butt.  Once my parents caught on that a Yuck Butt was the highest of insults in our clan, using the phrase became grounds for a mouth washing.

But we were slick and came up with a secret code for how to continue using our own special little curse word unscathed.

We switched it up to Butt Yuck instead.

They caught on to that one, too.


Filed under Family, Friends and other Humans

a visit

I took advantage of a trip to New York for work to do a little visit to the homestead in Hunterdon County, New Jersey.  Yeah, New Jersey.  Armpits, assholes and shopping malls.

Except my neck of the woods there is more like this:


And the little towns are full of old Victorian homes, like this:


You probably heard that it freakishly snowed.  It did.


But it got melty pretty quickly and I got a bit of treatment for my autumn withdrawal.


I got to see my family.  This is one of my family type persons:


Spending time with my family is a mixed bag.  The house is seriously getting borderline Hoarders.  There is constant bickering and swiping and seemingly purposeful pushing of buttons.  They don’t typically spend quality time together, so there’s a pervasive awkwardness of people making an effort to be there, which they’re doing for my benefit.
So, it’s hard.  And I do a crap job of being patient and kind and understanding.  Instead, I feel angry and frustrated and just want to withdraw into a nap or a novel.
Much like my failed intentions to workout while travelling, I had visions of cooking lovely wholesome meals that we’d enjoy together.  But the kitchen’s too gross for me to deal and no one seems interested and something about being there saps out my pep.  Instead, we got pizza and watched movies.

I was ready to go back home to my small tidy apartment and my wonderful David, and was reminded of why I’m not eager to go more often.  And yet.  And yet.
It still breaks my heart to leave, every time.

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Filed under Family, Friends and other Humans

Penny Lane. Er. Jane.

I have a new niece!

Penelope Jane came to hang out with us last week, on Tuesday, October 11.

Penny Jane 9 lbs 5 oz 20 inches

That’s a baby alright!

She lives in Boston, so I won’t be meeting her in person for a really long time.  That’s ok, though.  She can use some percolating time to get more interesting first.

Since the time that The David and I met and started dating, we’ve gone from 0 nieces and nephews… to 5.
That’s 5 babies in 3 years and 4 months.  His sister has had 2 girls and one of my brothers has begat 2 boys and this latest girl, Penny.

The David and I aren’t married, so even though his two nieces came before her, technically Penny is my first niece.  She’s the first girl baby in my family.

I was thinking about “real” nieces and psuedo-we’re-not-married nieces.  They feel mostly the same to me.  Maybe a little different.
Do they start feeling more equal when you’re properly married?  People are always saying that even though things are really the same on the surface, that it all feels different once you’re married.  Maybe this is like that?

And then I was remembering being a kid with an assortment of aunt and uncle flavored relatives.  Some of them were married in to being a relative of mine, but for the most part, those unions all took place before i was born.  There wasn’t really a difference between Aunt Maureen and Uncle Roger to me.

And now, for the grown-up me, there’s also this element of feeling like I have to make an effort with the pseudo-in-laws.  I care about whether or not they like me.  So I want to treat the little English nieces like real nieces.  Especially since if it were up to The David, he’d forget their birthdays, that they should get Christmas presents from their uncle in America, possibly even their names…

(Speaking of birthdays and Christmas presents… like I said, there are now 5.  5 little kids under the age of 3.  What do you buy these people for gifts?  Because Maggie does not know.)

Anyway.  There’s a new Hannon.  And she could go through the green glass door twice.  Just like me.

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Filed under Family, Friends and other Humans, Special happy things

he fell into a vat of boiling sugar

When we went to England at the beginning of September, one of the several stops we made was a visit to Gran, a little old lady and The David’s only living grandparent.

We went to dinner with Gran, who had fish and chips.  She described the fish as “snowy white.”  Twice.

Then she made some reference to the war.

And like the awesome American that I am, I said “What war?”

<eye roll at myself from the future>

So then Gran starts to tell me all about how the homes of some of her aunts and uncles had been bombed, so they were all living together in her house.  One of her cousins slept underneath his mom and dad’s bed.  *But why underneath?  Was there no other floor space for him elsewhere in the room?*

She told us about the poor, poor Irish people, like the Kennedys who lived in what sounded like a one room shack attached to the back of their house.  They were Catholic, Gran was careful to point out, and they had 5 children.  Some days, Mrs Kennedy would come around asking if they could spare an egg for Mr Kennedy’s tea.

If that wasn’t pitiful enough – this family of 7, without enough money to keep everyone fed – she told us that Mr Kennedy fell into a vat of boiling sugar at work and she never saw any of them again.


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Filed under Family, Friends and other Humans

one of those days

Yesterday, there was this baby.  She was born at 5 pm in Texas.  Her parents are an old boyfriend of mine, circa 2003, and the woman he was engaged to and broke up with before he met me (and then went back to after we broke up).  Weird, I know.
This old boyfriend is the only other one that I’ve lived with besides David.  We were together for a little over three years.  Nice guy, but it was good for it to be over.
I know I’m not alone in this thinking… that we can breakup and I can feel like it’s the good and right thing, but you should probably never date anyone ever again, because no one could ever really be as uniquely spectacular as I am.
So I have little snarky thoughts about him and the girlfriend that used to be and that was then the girlfriend that is, again. And then I had that glug feeling when Facebook told me she was pregnant.  And yesterday, the baby was born.

A few hours later, I’m sitting on the couch having “a talk” about these flaws in my existing relationship.  The one that I am always thinking is so great.  The one that just hit the 3 year mark on Sunday.  So seriously, Universe?  Fart on you.


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Filed under Dating

It’s an Irish thing?

Last weekend, the meat booth at our farmer’s market was selling corned beef.  They had a sign to tell us that it was Special! and everything.

The David thinks this is a good thing and stops to get one, but they’ve run out.

The next day, in the ferry building, we stop at the butcher there, but they’ve only got humongo slabs of corned beef and don’t want to cut them into smaller slabs.  So we skip it.

Later, we’re planning out our meals for the week and we’ve got everything we need for corned beef and cabbage on our shopping list.  At Whole Foods, we successfully acquire a 2 pound non-humongo slab of corned beef.  Hurrah!

So, later this week, I’m discussing with David how we’ll have to plan to have our corned beef on Thursday.  It needs 3 hours to cook and that takes a little foresight to incorporate into your week night, because the damn dinner-cooking fairies I ordered off of Amazon got waylaid in customs or something.

The conversation goes something like this:

Me:  “I think I’ll try to put the corned beef on to cook on Wednesday night and then start on regular dinner.”

David:  “Ok.  How come on Wednesday night?”

Me:  “Because then we can have it ready for Thursday.”

David:  “What’s on Thursday?”

Me:  “Saint Patrick’s Day?”

David:  “So?”

Me:  “Saint Patrick’s Day and corned beef and cabbage.”

David:  “Is that a thing?”

Me:  “Uh.  Yeah.”  Obviously.

David.  “It’s an Irish thing?”

Me:  “Yes!  That’s what you eat on Saint Patrick’s Day!”

I realize that David wasn’t wanting to get corned beef for any special occasion, but just because we’ve been seeing signs for it and mention of it everywhere.  And it’s becoming clear to me that David, as a British person, is woefully uneducated on what it means to be Irish*, a topic we Americans pursue with passion.

*Apparently, corned beef and cabbage is not Irish at all.  The Irish may have prepared something sort of similar combining back bacon (not streaky like the kind Americans eat) with cabbage.  But the “traditional” corned beef and cabbage dish is not Irish.

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Filed under Foodery, The David, these are the days of my lives

I totally get a do over, right?

So after all my mature, serene, and well adjusted peremptory feelings about Valentine’s Day, I kind of snarfed all over it.  I know I’ve said that I don’t care about it.  I don’t need to pay $100 for a dinner out that would normally cost $50.  I don’t need any presents.  And even if I did want presents, I would totally forfeit in the spirit of fairness, because Valentine’s gift ideas for boys are just beyond me.

But I did think that it could still be special without going to an awful lot of forced effort to make it so.

And then?  It just wasn’t and now I’m bitter.  I’m just like all those other girls who cry because they didn’t get their diamond studs!  Except I’m all mope and moan because the TV did get turned on.  And Family Guy was watched.  I didn’t shower when I got home from the gym, since it was already getting close to 7 and we needed to start dinner.  I had developed a handful of zits on my chin, some of which were being huge and mean, so  I was feeling gross.  David had a headache.  Once the TV went on, I was already feeling two sheets to a weep about it, and I didn’t say anything; just felt all harumph instead.  Dinner wasn’t ready until a quarter to 9 and we ate on the couch.

So, I thought I didn’t care.  But I do, I guess.

And the thing is, the whole reason that I feel like I don’t, or shouldn’t, care about Valentine’s Day is because every day should be Valentine’s Day, shouldn’t it?  Do I really need a day to say “I love you and I love us and I think we’re pretty special?”  Obviously, laundry and nights out with the girls and bad days at work and whatever else will get in the way some times.   But there should still be plenty of days left for valentines.

Like today.  I’m totally going to request that we have a non-tv night.  I’ll get home in time to start dinner at a reasonable time and I should be able to make sure that the table is clear.  I may even break out the Scrabble board.  How’s that for a do over?

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Filed under The David