Category Archives: relationships

Jesus Has a Sister

Today is a special friend’s birthday. She’s Another Blonde, also known among our posse as TrailMistress Z. We are hiking pals and best buddies. Take my word for it: she’s terrific. I told her as much on the phone this morning. I’m in Colorado Springs for a few days and she is at home in northern California, so I couldn’t affirm her wonderfulness in person. My praise for her may have been a tad heavy: she offered up the idea that she could be Jesus’ Sister. Maybe it’s the altitude or the location — “Mecca” for Serious Christians, home of James Dobson’s Focus on the Family empire, with evangelical churches heavily interspersed with local strip malls — but her self-proclaimed status seemed reasonable. Continue reading Jesus Has a Sister

Matching Ears

This post comes from Inky, our Real Blonde! guest writer. So just ignore the NQB “signature” that appears under the date. It’s a programming thing. Rather than fight it, we’ve chosen to ignore it. We’ll let you know up-front when Real Blonde is writing.

Nobody prepared me for this. Certainly not my Nordic family. To start with, I am married to an American – Italian man, which means that nothing is held back and he needs to be heard.

We’ve reached the age where ears play a major role in our lives. We just came home from dinner with friends at a local restaurant. Here’s what happened.

Can you hear me?
I'm all ears, honey

We checked in with the 23 year-old hostess and informed her that we would like to be seated where the noise level was manageable because of bad ears. She had no clue about Old Man Ears.

“Matching ears ” is an essential part of restaurant life in our world. That, and the location of the air conditioner, which I will get into later.

The men tell us which ear is the good one and which one bad. The wife should sit next to the bad ear because she really doesn’t have anything new to say to the husband anyway. When we are all matched up, ears aligned to the right listeners, the wives sit down in assigned places. (With the ear issue organized, we turn our focus on whether there’s an air conditioner blowing on anybody’s eyeballs or giving anybody a stiff neck. These things don’t happen to anybody under 40.)

My husband’s right ear is bad, which makes it hard on me when he drives and I am saying something brilliant. Hearing “What?” three times (getting louder each time) takes away some of my spontaneous brilliance and after awhile I just ask myself “Do I really want to say this three times?” The answer is usually “No.” I give up.

Another common ear thing that happens is when you are three rooms away from your husband and you hear “Have you seen my keys?”

You answer, truthfully, “No. I have no idea where they are.”

Then you hear a cranky voice, “How do you expect me to hear you from three rooms away?!?!”

Of course, if you are five rooms away and whisper, “Do you want to have wild, uninhibited sex, anything goes?” The ear thing clears up in a second.

We’re Alive Until We’re Not

I don’t usually write posts of this length, but once I started, I had to keep on writing. This is dedicated to the unique gentleman who allowed me to share the last 18 months of his life. I will carry his memory forward with me. And here’s a loving shout-out to the dedicated staff at “famous 4A,” the hospice unit where I volunteer.  Please share this with anyone who doubts the value of hospice care.  Hospice offers a gift of time to those who chose this experience at the end of their lives.


Mr. S and I met eighteen months ago when he moved to the hospice where I work as a volunteer. At the time, he was a robust man whose appearance was initially intimidating. His pointedly-arched, bristly white eyebrows; piercing blue eyes; white hair swept back from his receding hairline…revealing a brow and forehead whose shape indicated that a sharp mind was operating within.

Those first days, he kept the door to his room closed, but thanks to the glass paneled top-half of the door, I could see him sitting by the wide window, looking out at the main entrance and driveways of the hospital, watching the comings and goings of people, the assortment of vehicles (buses, vans, ambulances, passenger cars, pick-up trucks, motorcycles, scooters and wheelchairs), and the landscape of hospital grounds and rolling hills beyond.

Continue reading We’re Alive Until We’re Not

Cougars vs. LetchDaddies, Manthers, Guyrillas…or…

Cougars. Not exactly an endangered species when we notice how often we hear about them. They’re everywhere.. or at least the WORD is everywhere.

A search on Urban Dictionary turns up this definition:

Noun. A 35+ year old female who is on the “hunt” for a much younger, energetic, willing-to-do-anything male. The cougar can frequently be seen in a padded bra, cleavage exposed, propped up against a swanky bar in San Francisco (or other cities)waiting, watching, calculating; gearing up to sink her claws into an innocent young and strapping buck who happens to cross her path. Man is cougar’s number one prey.

UD also gives the newly-informed a chance to buy CougarGear. (I’m veering off-message, but would a coug really wear a baby-tee or baseball cap describing herself as an “older” cat on the prowl for young, male prey?)

This got me thinking. We need words to describe our lives, the stuff and thoughts of our lives. If there’s not a special or unique word for “some thing,” does it mean the thing doesn’t exist for us?

As far as I can see, and I may be myopic —  there is no single word, like “cougar,” that defines the older guy who hunts and hits on much younger women. Continue reading Cougars vs. LetchDaddies, Manthers, Guyrillas…or…

Birthdays and Cakes

My 60th birthday was on June 23. I didn’t want a big party or lots of attention. My view is that 60 is a gateway year. Several weeks before “the day,” thoughts about life past, present and most of all, future were filling my head. For the first time in my life, I had clear awareness that the time remaining will be of shorter duration than time passed.

As an antidote to sobering thoughts, I chose to focus on birthday cake.

I love birthday cakes and have definite preferences. Continue reading Birthdays and Cakes