Bike to Work Day in Muskegon


Joel and some of his colleagues at the bank biked to work today. Joel’s round trip time is close to 2.5 hours.

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Why I Love Maria, or Love Hack (baby, love hack)

This post is here for several reasons:

  1. Maria is always telling me I should write a blog
  2. It’s our anniversary tomorrow (13th)
  3. While I was sleeping the other day, and Maria couldn’t, she logged onto my iGoogle page and made some well-intentioned, but ultimately futile changes/additions in an effort to help me get my life organized. Revenge shall be mine!!!
  4. As a member of the Andersen clan of Billings, it is apparently part of my birthright to post a sappy ode to my wife on our anniversary (all my siblings, or at least their spouses, seem to do it).

That said, here goes:

Why I love Maria

  1. Let’s get the most obvious one out of the way: I think she’s pretty dang sexy!!
  2. She’s got gentle, smooth curves in all the right places. ;-)
  3. Maria cares about other people on a deep and individual level.
  4. She always has three or four ideas about everything.
  5. She hasn’t given up on me yet.
  6. She’s always one step ahead.
  7. When she laughs, she really laughs. Not just a chuckle, or a polite “ha-ha”. But a laugh from deep down and all over. When I make her laugh like that, I feel so good about myself.
  8. Even though she’s one of the strongest, most independent, and most resilient people I know, she can still me feel needed.
  9. She hasn’t given up on me yet.
  10. ……

OK, so this is actually kind of a tough thing for me to quantify. Sure, people like Hugh Grant and Matthew McConaughey do it all the time in chick flicks. But seriously how do you state, in concrete terms, why you spend, and will spend, almost every day of your life with the same person (and you’re not in prison for serial killing).

I’ve never been a big fan of the idea of “romantic love”. I’m sure Maria will be the first to agree that when we first saw each other, neither of us thought “I’m gonna marry that person” (Though I did think she was cute). Heck, when we met, I was probably on People Magazine’s “Most Ineligible Bachelors”. The chemistry took some time. Even now, after 15+ years (13 married), when I feel most “in love” with Maria, I wouldn’t describe it the way it’s spelled out in the movies, books, poems, etc…

All I know is that I can’t imagine life without her. All I know is that when people ask about her, I can talk for an hour, and the whole time I’m thinking how proud I am to be her husband. All I know is that every guy in the bar could be ogling her, but if one of them made her laugh, that’s when I’d get jealous. All I know is that my jokes aren’t truly funny to me unless she laughs at them. All I know is that I can’t fall asleep at night until I know she’s safe at home. All I know is that when she’s out with her friends, or on a trip, I spend most of my time thinking about how long until she’ll return.

All I know is that when I have some new-fangled theory about the meaning of life, or the future of lawn tractor technology, she’s the first person I want to tell it to, and I value her opinion on it the most. All I know is that if Maria thinks it’s a bad idea, it’s a bad idea. All I know is that if Maria says I can do it, I can do it.

To me, none of these seem to fit the classical idea of romantic love. But they’re why I love Maria, why I love being married to her, why I’m happy waking up next to her, why I’m sad when I don’t fall asleep next to her, and why I hope every day that I continue to do all these.

xoxoxo

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Communing with the Pigs

Joel said “Hey! Now I’m at MY family reunion!” (he’s always joking that he’s a pig because of how much he eats)


The pigs were skittish at first, but then became curious about us.

This guy looks a little crowded.


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And Joel says he has nothing to say…

These are Joel’s “Seven Interesting Things.”

1. I can remember my first moment of consciousness. I was almost 3 and it was Christmas morning in Orofino. It was 1976 and Uncle Gary and Aunt Carolyn and their kids, and Grandpa and Grandma Andersen were there. Before I woke up that morning I did not exist (at least in my mind). I was aware of the fact that it was my first memory that day, and from that day on. It was sort of like being an alien that decided to inhabit a little boy’s body on Christmas morning, and then got amnesia and forgot he was an alien.

2. I had a brief flirtation with the criminal underworld in college when I went through a minor shoplifting phase. Sad thing is, I only stole deodorant and blank audio tapes (for mix tapes of course!). I don’t remember why I stopped and what my logic was for doing it, but I did almost get caught once (very close – like 5 more seconds and I was gonna be in the clink) and maybe that gave me a scare.

3. I never kissed my first girlfriend (Jenny D)…..ever. An important fact about this is that I was 17 and she was 16 or so. I actually asked before I tried to kiss her and she said no (I thought I was being a sensitive new-age guy and that that was what girls wanted). I found out later on that she was just curious how long she could hold out/stay strong. Talk about screwing with a guy’s head!!!

4. For a not-so-brief time in college, I was fairly sure that I was going to be the next Jesus Christ, or Dahli Lhama, or the next reincarnation of Lord Vishnu. When I would go to BBS’s (anybody remember those??) on the internet I would use the username “Messiah”. And people would ask me heavy questions and I would wax philosophic. It was actually a great way to meet a wide variety of people online without trying.

5. I once went power walking with a girl from Georgia in my freshman year of college because I thought she was hot, and I thought it would get my foot in the door. You know – power walking – where you walk real fast but keep your upper body stiff, and your hips have to waggle?? It’s like running, but you have to have a foot on the ground at all times. Now, mind you, I was full-bore into my skuzzy hippy phase. She made me get really into it: “Pump your arms more!” and stuff like that. I can still remember the horrid shame as we walked past a frat house and she waved and said hello to all the guys (I think she was a pledge with a sorority). The things you’ll do for chicks!!

6. In college, Maria and I used to go to this bar called the Lumberjack with friends so that we could country swing-dance. The catch was that this bar was literally in the middle of nowhere. You had to drive out of town for 30 or more minutes and start up towards Lolo Pass (Orofino’s on the other side of the pass). At some point you turned off the road and took a dirt road a mile or two into the trees and all of a sudden there was this little cabin/bar. It was actually kind of fun because it was only scary local backwoods logging people with a lousy house band, but there was no one to criticize your dancing (they were all way to drunk when we got there). This place had chainsaws, axes, saws, raccoons, and deer and bear heads, the whole shebang. I remember one time a guy got the house band to let his girlfriend / wife sing “Crazy” by Patsy Cline. It was awful, but you could tell it made her night. I did have to dance with a really drunk (I mean really drunk) bar floozy one time. Only problem was that I had only danced with Maria up to that point, and was really used to “close” dancing where you get pretty “friendly” with your partner, so I think I showed the lady a way better time than she was expecting. ;-)

7. Sometimes, when I’m particularly tired of Maria, I like to peruse online dating sites to see what’s out there, and what I’m missing. Only problem is, the answer is always: Not Much. Oh sure, there are the 18-year-old perky blonds who are looking for a “friend”, but that’s a little creepy, even for me. In Muskegon, anybody over 20 generally comes with a complimentary offspring unit, as well as two carry-ons and a duffel bag full of issues. It’s actually quite interesting from a sociological perspective to see what people will say in their quest to find a mate. To be fair, I look at the guy’s listing too, which are way different than the women’s. The one piece of advice I’d give to women who are considering putting a profile on one of these sites is: Never, ever, ever use the terms “Prince Charming” or “knight in shining armor” or “soul mate”. Seriously, what guy wants to have to live up to that kind of expectation right out of the gate. It screams “I’m needy, have self-esteem issues, and I still have dolls on my bed.” Plus, the ones that use those terms usually look like they’d be lucky if they ended up with the village blacksmith. J

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Thoughts on the Honey-Do List

Oh what is a man to do with his life
Without clear commands and input from his wife?
One fears he would wander and drift through each day
without a clear goal or the good sense to say
“Pray tell my dear lady what would you like me to do
in order to make this day perfect for you?”

But lo and behold what do the wise Wives provide,
but a list for us poor men to use as a guide.
Now some men may say this list is a gift,
and failure to adhere to it may cause a rift.
But those that are wise and experienced in years,
look on this rare gift and it brings them to tears.

For you see, just as one task is done and complete
the list is amended to include two more feats!

author: Joel Andersen (who will never get his own blog, so I am republishing his “comment” on my “Ode to my new closet light” here)

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