Posted tagged ‘relationships’


September 11, 2017

Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you – Kahlil Gibran On Marriage in The Prophet

Occasionally, when I mention how long my wife and I have been together (over fifty years), someone asks, What is your secret?  The answer of course, is that there is no secret, except perhaps that the best of relationships take commitment and work.  I suppose that doesn’t qualify as a secret either because it’s mentioned in virtually every self-help book ever written on the fine art of marriage.   There are, however, many factors that contributed to our long run together and one of those is that we both need time alone and, because we both need our Solitude, we are both willing to give it to each other.  Oh, it’s not perfect.   If one of us is feeling needy or just in need of company and the other there can be hurt feelings or reluctant compromises, but what marriage doesn’t have those?  In our Solitude, we pursue interests of our own, some which require uninterrupted contemplation, and we consider with the perspective that only solitude can bring the decisions to made in our life.   It probably sounds enigmatic, but I believe that in part the divisiveness and misunderstanding that plagues our society these days stems in part from too little time spent alone in quiet contemplation and the lack of self-knowledge that results from continual engagement with others. (more…)

Grow Old with Me …

August 23, 2016

old handsYou probably know the rest … the Best is Yet to Be.  You may even know that the phrase is the first line of a poem by Robert Browning with the unlikely title of Rabbi Ben Ezra, a poem that is more philosophical and less romantic than the opening line suggests. You may know that a song of the same name … loosely based on Browning’s poem … was one of John Lennon’s last compositions.  Does it seem possible that the man who wrote Imagine wrote these lyrics?

Grow old along with me
The best is yet to be
When our time has come
We will be as one
God bless our love
God bless our love


Friendly Furnishings

August 13, 2016

oldFifteen years ago, with my business doing well and our neighborhood of 30 years declining, we decided to buy a new, larger house across the freeway in Anaheim Hills.  Much of our furniture was as old as our old house, so we decided to completely furnish our new home from scratch.   I had always liked the idea of a recliner but didn’t care for the looks of most of them and my wife, Muri, liked them a lot less.   But in a corner of our favorite furniture store, Hector’s Fine Furniture, where we were picking out a Mission-style entertainment unit and tables for our family room, was a Mission-style leather chair.  I tried it out.   It was not only comfortable, it was a recliner that both Muri and I liked.  It came home with us and found its place in the corner across from the TV. (more…)

Forty-Eight Years

August 11, 2016

As of today, Mr. and Mrs. Eyes (aka Muri and Bud) have been married for forty-eight years.   In case you were wondering, this is what a forty-eight year marriage looks like.   Yes, there were a few tough times but who takes pictures of those?   Besides, they were few and far between.


heartsHappy Anniversary, Murihearts


March 12, 2016

tmp_18570-_IMG_000000_0000001967188459This will be a short and inconsequential post (yes, I know … you come here for long and consequential.  Sorry.  Not today).   I am in the park as I usually am on Saturday mornings, writing and reading and thinking and doing all those things a sometimes spiritual curmudgeon does to start off his weekend right, including re-establishing contact with an old friend and sponsor.   It is a gorgeous day and I am looking forward to slinging my camera over my shoulder and taking a walk.  According to my Fitbit, I will break 25 miles again this week and, although my waistline doesn’t appear to have benefited from the exercise, my legs are feeling as fit as they have in quite a while.

Seventy Talks to Forty

June 17, 2015

rothman_advice_postOK, I admit it … it’s seventy-one.  What’s one year between friends?

Monday was June 15.  If you are self-employed, it is likely that you know this as the day on which your second installment of estimated taxes is due.  Therefore, Monday afternoon, I found myself standing in line at our local post office waiting to mail my payments to the United States Treasury and the California Franchise Tax Board.   Paying money.  Standing in line.  In a post office known for its not-so-pleasant workers.  Not a formula for happy but at seventy-one, I’m pretty good at distracting myself from potentially annoying situations.  In this case, I was looking for an old Linda Ronstadt song on You Tube on my smartphone.  When I made it to the counter, I handed my two envelopes to the postal worker and said,  Since it’s June 15, you probably know where these are going.  She glanced at the addresses without expression and asked, Are you sure you don’t want a signature on delivery?  Oh, I don’t care if they get it, I said, I just want to be able to prove I sent it.  Still no smile. (more…)


May 11, 2015

aloneOver the last month or so, I found myself avoiding conversations before and after my Men’s meetings … and sitting by myself at breaks.  I wasn’t being consciously anti-social, but there I was, feeling alone in a room full of people.  I was fairly sure other people noticed, too, but nobody ever said anything, so who knows?    But it bothered me.  So, naturally, being an analytical kind of guy, I tried to figure out why I was doing it.  Isn’t that the way an engineer solves a problem … understanding the root cause then addressing it?   I came up with several good theories.   I’m feeling sheepish about several decisions I’ve made lately and I don’t want to hear anyone’s comments.   I have nothing to say to these people (even though I’ve chatted at breaks with these people at breaks for a least ten years).   My ego is running amok, making me either arrogant or defensive.   Nothing helped. (more…)


August 26, 2014

Resentment is a poison you give yourself hoping someone someone else will die.

image I know this for a fact … I poisoned myself this weekend and no one else died. It just froze the joy out of my weekend. Resentment is like that. Anger burns. Resentment is cold and hard and casts a chilly pall over everything it touches … except the person you resent … they are, of course, oblivious. You’d think after 20-something years working the 12-steps, I’d have no resentments left but of course, there are a few hiding in the darker corners of my heart. This one is particularly vexing, since it’s a resentment for something done to someone I love, not to me. Yeah, freakin’ wonderful … a codependent resentment. It’s gotten in my way on several occasions before so it’s time to root it out. (more…)

On Marriage

August 19, 2014

MARRIAGEAs I was writing my Monday Smiles post for our 46th Wedding Anniversary on last week, I found an interesting statistic on marriage.   We’ve all read the gloomy news, how the divorce rate rose from 1950 until 1980 when the baby-boomers … beneficiaries or victims of the sexual revolution, depending upon your point of view … began marrying.   That … and considering the way people react when I say I’ve been married to the same woman for forty-six years … made me think that the forty-six year marriage club we recently joined was exclusive.   Yet, according to the census, approximately half of all first marriages make it to the fortieth anniversary.   Thinking about for a few minutes, it makes sense … if 50% of first marriages end in divorce, then those that don’t go on celebrating anniversaries. Of course, if I think about it for a few more minutes … and do a little elementary calendar math … I realize that those of us celebrating 40 to 50 year anniversaries right now are from my (pre-baby-boomer) generation. Those troublesome boomers are just beginning to influence the statistics and, according to an article on the Washington Post, they are now middle-aged but their pattern of high marital instability continues, making it likely the percentage of marriages reaching 40 years will fall in the coming years.

Still, I feel like I’ve been looking at marriage statistics from the glass-half-empty point of view. After all, half of the first marriage end in divorce. But don’t you find it remarkable that half make it to a fortieth anniversary and beyond? I do.

The Perfect Speech

June 1, 2014

VGI have been speaking in front of audiences for nearly all my adult life.  Even in college, I was a fraternity president, running fraternity meetings.  Professionally, my public speaking consisted of technical presentations, accompanied by what have been for as long as I can remember been called viewgraphs.  Very early in my career, they were painstakingly mounted in glass frames by the art department, meaning they had to be designed several weeks before the presentation.  Later, the art department designs were produced on paper, then copied onto clear plastic sheets.  The large projectors known as viewgraph machines were permanent residents of every meeting room.   The growth of personal computing and software like Microsoft Powerpoint revolutionized the process, allowing engineers to make their own viewgraphs … right up to the moment of the presentation.   These days, the viewgraphs are projected directly from the computer onto the screen.   When I was a presentation newbie, I would carefully write out everything I wanted say on sheets of paper attached to each viewgraph.  Writing it out helped me remember what I wanted to say and gave me notes to keep nearby in case I lost my place.  Some years later, my mentor and current business partner, Paul, taught me know the critical members of the audience and anticipate their questions.  By knowing how I’d answer those questions, I increased the possibility that the customer would buy into the conclusions my presentation offered. (more…)