Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Slowing down

I have never been much of a drinker, at least not of alcoholic beverages, although there was a brief period in my early married life that every time my husband and I went out to dinner I had a mixed drink, usually a 7 & 7. Of course, we went out to dinner maybe once or twice a year so you can imagine how little alcohol I imbibed during our seven-year marriage. We did go to the package store on base and get quite a few bottles of liquor and liqueur but it was only for cooking. Like I said, I have never been much of a drinker . . . until recently. I have had more to drink in the past month than I've had in the past few years. Except for sharing the occasional glass of wine on a nice summer night with the landlady or a margarita with dinner at the Front Range BBQ, I don't drink anything but water. That is until I joined a wine club.

Over the past few weeks I have opened a few of the bottles (two so far) and enjoyed a half glass with dinner to go with the meals I've concocted since I decided to actually enjoy meals slowly and with whatever ingredients suited my mood. I have to say that so far the Pinot Grigio and the Shiraz (with a slow cooked beef peposo) have been memorable wines. The Pinot Grigio was not too sweet with a crisp taste of green apple, peaches and something undefinable (at least by me) and the Shiraz is full bodied, fruity and mellow. Definitely a smooth wine that goes well with the peppery, garlicky peposo. I decided not to make the Parmesan polenta and used spinach linguine instead and it was good.

I'm eating dinner early tonight since I have a meeting with the local psychologist to begin the interviews and connections to research the article on men who are verbally and emotionally abused. I still have to take a shower and I have plenty of time to work off the Shiraz, three hours to be exact. I feel decadent and warm and relaxed. That's a really good feeling. Taking things slower and enjoying food and the occasional glass of wine is definitely worth the time. I guess that means I'm becoming decadent, but not so decadent that I can't "...see a church by daylight."

Since I took men off the menu -- again -- I have been bombarded by emails and offers for dates, dinner, drinks and hanky panky, to all of which I have said, " Thank you, but no." I have other things on my mind, like dealing with the first round of promotions on the first two books that just came out. My Aunt Lois, Uncle Bob's wife, finally emailed and told me she was excited about reading the books and that they looked very interesting. She also answered a few questions for me that I had emailed her about a month ago (she doesn't live on the Internet like I do).

With Valentine's Day just past and the date of my anniversaries of my previous marriages looming, I have wondered why, since Uncle Bob always forgets her birthday and their anniversary, why she hadn't strangled him long before now. She said she didn't care those days as long as he remembered her every other day of the year. She is indeed a wise woman.

We put so much emphasis on made up holidays, birthdays and anniversaries that we completely miss what's important -- that your spouse or companion love you, respect you and celebrate being with you every day. I could never understand why women nagged their partners about putting down the toilet seat or taking out the trash. It's not like they didn't do those things for themselves when they were single and it's really not worth arguing about when they're forgotten. I understand the division of labor so that one person isn't shouldering the whole load, but there are better things to fight about -- like who gets to hold the remote or which way the toilet paper unrolls when it's put in the holder, and just about as important. We get so caught up in the details we forget there are more important issues, like taking it slow and appreciating the little things.

A little meditation, a little deep breathing, counting to ten if it helps or simply slowing down and realizing that, yes, falling into the toilet and getting a rude, cold and very wet awakening because someone forgot to put down the toilet seat or schlepping the trash out for a change is sometimes annoying, but checking the seat before sitting down and remembering all the other times your partner took out the trash without being asked makes it all a bit easier to bear. We turn mole hills into mountains when we should be turning mountains into mole hills. Screaming at you, calling you names, emasculating or denigrating you until you feel like an amoeba on a flea on a rat is a much bigger issue. Forgetting your anniversary or birthday isn't a big deal -- especially if you plan ahead and remind them you'd like to do something special or just exchange a small gift, cook dinner or go out.

Life is complex and gets more so every day. It's hard to remember the little things, but it's not so hard if home is a place of refuge and sanctuary from the rat maze outside your door where there's always a line of rats pushing you from behind. Forget about the dishes or enjoy a special meal with a glass of wine or water or coffee or whatever. Turn off the ringer on the phone, leave the television off and hide the remote and just enjoy a few moments of a slower pace. You'll be surprised how much better everything feels.

That is all. Disperse.

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