Breaking my rule led me into the arms of a sociopath.

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We met on Match. He reached out to me, “Hey — great pix! Love your smile. Is that Greece?” I didn’t respond because it would have broken my golden rule: No pics, no play. He wrote again. Hey — sorry. I’m at a business conference in CA and just created my profile. For some reason my pics won’t upload. Must be a bandwidth issue. I’ve attached some for you.

Handsome. Dark hair, dazzling smile. Could those teeth be any whiter?

No worries. I get it. My wifi here is one step above dial up. Great to ‘meet’ you.

Flirty notes progressed into flirty calls. Within a couple of days, he asked for a date. Thank God. I hate when guys drag out the whole emailing back and forth thing. I want a date, not a frickin’ penpal. We made plans to meet at an Irish bar we were both familiar with when he returned from CA. It was comfortable for me, as I was on a first name basis with most of the bartenders having been a frequent flyer there for the past several years. …


As Election Day approaches, this list may grow.

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Look, I never purported to be a nice person, and this week I’ve been 1000 percent less so. I’m tired, physically spent, mentally drained, and I got no more fucks left to give. My hair hasn’t been done properly in seven months, my dog’s nails look better than mine, I’ve gained approximately 18 pounds in the last week (Hello, my friend stress eating), my toilet has pink stuff growing inside, and I am done. Guess who gets to see this hot, throbbing ball of sexy every day?

People think intimacy is about lacy, red thongs from Victoria’s Secret (are they still in biz?), but it’s not. In her 1969 article in Psychology Today, Lori H. Gordon nailed it when she said, “Love is a feeling. Marriage, on the other hand, is a contract — an invisible contract.” Intimacy is based on our biological need for physical and emotional closeness. It is about showing your partner the most evil, vile, ugly, smelly, oozing sides of yourself and they still have to sleep next to you and smile over coffee. You can find that in Section 2.1.3.1a …


Pour yourself some tea and let the words of others work their magic

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When things get dark, I use the words of others as my salve. As a boyfriend I (hopefully and incorrectly) thought would be putting a ring on it pulled away from my apartment for the last time, I pulled up to Barnes & Noble. When my mom died, I became best friends with a little gray-haired monk named Pema Chodron.

Healing for me has always been inclusive of writers whom I thought of as guides, counselors, and trusted friends along the path. …


Like happiness, love is a choice I make every day and sometimes it’s messy

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We are past the honeymoon stage of our marriage. Come to think of it, that part may have happened in the early stages of our dating. When you meet later in life, you have to condense things. As I like to say, although we’ve only been married six years, in dog years, it’s 42.

I love my husband for many reasons that mostly involve his character, the depths of his heart. He is loyal beyond imagination and truthful. There is never a question — he will always do the right thing. He is crazy strong and smart about the things I’m not such as building anything, navigating waterways, fixing everything I break, and driving anything with an engine. He is fearless and passionate. When we had to put our ten year old golden retriever down, he cried every morning for two weeks. Although he was not a ‘cat person’ when we met, he loves our kittens as much as I do. …


Letting go is never about a pair of pants, although it should be

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Disclaimer: I was a professional organizer for over 20 years.

The sentimentality of objects is not lost on me, although many clients probably thought me a heartless beast. If they hired me, I presumed it was because they wanted/needed help letting go. Clutter holds us back. I know this to be true.

Yet, I also know how hard letting go can be and how many memories we can cram into a single tee shirt or how we can personify the most inanimate household object. “This may look like a rusted, broken shovel.” Why yes it does. “Well, but it reminds me of my grandfather. …


When life feels like a country ballad, give it a rewrite

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If the classic 1970s disaster movies The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno had a baby, it would be 2020. You can’t make this shit up.

In December 2019, the twang of my sad country ballad had already begun to take shape. It was not a chart-topper by any stretch.

Well, my cat done died. Damn how I cried. I was still spilling tears when a great man was taken to meet our Lord. A week before Christmas, we boarded a plane to lay him to rest. Oh how the tears poured. Spent Christmas Eve in the ER with Dad. Couldn’t be any more sad. God, is this some sort of test? My stepson is in the rehab again. Oh when will it end? TWANG. TWANG. …


In 2021, we may need to redefine ‘okay’

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Okay. Yup. All good. Nothing to see here. I am okay. Okie dokie. A-Ok.

Sorry — can you define ‘okay?’


COVID-19 robbed us of precious time with Dad, but not our memories

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They told me losing my mom would be one of the worst things I’d ever go through. They didn’t know about a pandemic. They had no clue what it would be like to not be able to hug your aging parent or worry about their care incessantly when that care was being provided by staff who are overworked, understaffed, overwhelmed, and often working well above their paygrade.

He was cocooned, though. At least he was safe. He wouldn’t have been safe at my house what with us coming in and out from the grocery store, Costco, the gas station, and all the other vital places humans must eventually venture to. We couldn’t have managed the level of care he needed on our own, and couldn’t rely on the consistency of a single caregiver. …


HUMOR

An Op-Ed by Dozer Dawg Brown

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First, let’s get this straight. I’m not a fan of the pic, but I’ll pretty much let my humans do anything to me. The number one job of a dog — this is for you runts out there — make your humans happy. There’s no making sense of what makes them laugh, cry, or withhold the treats, but roll with it. Just don’t roll in crap, no matter how enticing. Been there, done that. It’s a sure way to get the biscuits kept in the jar, Junior.

On to holidays.

I haven’t really got my brain around this fully, but it appears that there are certain times — like every 8,383,666 hours that different smells and things come into the house. My whole timing system has been thrown off since they stopped leaving the house for 49,872 hours at a time each day, but around when her flowers start blooming, there’s the scent of chocolate which I am NOT ALLOWED to have. But also a lot of yummy ham. Not too long ago, you probably similarly noticed the smell of turkey. That’s the sign that the bigger one is getting close, so nose up and pay attention. …


You’re only as happy as your sickest family member

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It’s official. Dad’s COVID test came back positive. What started as a cough, was initially diagnosed as pneumonia, is in fact COVID-19.

I got the news on Saturday. I was already worried about him — have been ever since the lock down started. As much as we all bitch about the ‘quarantine,’ it’s really a joke. I can mask up, run over to TJ Maxx to get a few ‘necessities,’ come home, turn on HBO and binge watch The Undoing while waiting for GrubHub to deliver whatever scrumptious meal I decide on.

Dad, not so much. He’s stuck in his tiny ‘apartment’ room, sitting in a wheelchair waiting for the phone to ring or an aide to come in to turn on the TV for him. I send a monthly pizza party to the staff in the hopes that they’ll show up daily to turn on his beloved Judge Judy for him. …

About

Lori Welch Brown

Bird by birding for P.S. I Love You, The Ascent, Creative Cafe, etc. while guzzling java, attempting to be humorous, and herding cats. loriwbrown@icloud.com

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