Posts Tagged ‘everlasting marriage’

Avoid Tempers And Tantrums Around The Turkey

November 2, 2012

[Cut out article, copy for your friends, post on your refrigerator.]

Ready.  Aim.  Fire!  As the holiday season kicks into high gear, tensions inevitably mount in most loving relationships.  The pressures of family feasts, party roulette, shopping marathons, and obligation overload are enough to make even the best turkey dressing come unglued and ham glaze gummy.  (Historically, January is the months with the highest divorce rate.)  Whether you’re single or married or somewhere in-between, lessons learned by long-married couples who’ve endured decades of holiday stress can help you, your mate, family, and friends keep tantrums and tempers silenced:

Love the one you’re with.  There are so many fine looking men and women attending holiday get-togethers.  Everybody is bubbly happy.  Everyone looks their best.  These observations can magnify the challenges, problems, and issues you and your spouse, partner, or significant other are dealing with on the home-front.  Are you missing something?  Don’t be fooled by all this razzmatazz.  99% of the time the grass is greenest under your own feet.  Instead of wallowing, turn the energy spent in doubt into energy devoted to rekindling the love between you and your loved one(s).

Ignore the braggers (and don’t try to one-up them).  Holiday get-togethers compel people to brag about their gains and make you feel miserable about your life.  People brag about their children’s trophies, their travels to Peru, their stock market gains, their knee replacement, their frequent flyer points, and on and on and on.  With the realization that your list is a lot shorter, you may think: What am I doing wrong?  Or you may gaze into your mate’s eyes and wonder: What are we doing wrong?  The answer: Absolutely nothing.  Whether your accomplishments for 2012 equal 1 or 100, give yourself a big pat on the back.

Does this make me look fat?: It’s the dreaded question guys hate most from ladies, and this is the time of year the ringing echoes.  So many parties.  So many outfits.  So many decisions.  Ladies, don’t ask.  And gentlemen, should they dare, don’t risk ruining the evening (and perhaps the entire next week).  The “correct” answer is to not answer.  A safe, generic response is “Honey, you always look beautiful to me.”  Besides, deep down, every woman knows where her curves should and shouldn’t be.

Never comment about anyone’s weight gain or irritating kids.  If the people are present, you’re stepping on a land mine.  If the people aren’t present, you can be sure the words will somehow very mysteriously get back to them.  These two topics are off the menu unless you want to start World War III.

Never, ever, miss a good chance to shut up.  The venom is certain to come out during family feasts, celebrations with co-workers, and happy hours with friends.  Remember, every comment doesn’t need a retort.  Every issue doesn’t need another opinion.  Speak up when it’s important, and keep your lips zipped when it isn’t.  What you don’t say is often as important as what you do say.

Hug and squeeze, aim to please.  The holiday pace is frenetic and it’s easy to lose your mate and other loved ones in the shuffle.  In the midst of the chaos, don’t forget to nurture relationships.  Everyone can use an occasional hearty hug.  If you’re a couple, discipline yourselves to block out time for each other, just as you do for everyone else.  Actions can be as low key as calling or text messaging to simply say “I’m thinking about you” or taking a 15 minute after-dinner walk together.

Bundling: Here are a few more time-tested relationship tips…Repel little mishaps and misunderstandings with laughter; sprinkle compliments throughout the day; and concentrate on the things you can change and don’t try to fix things you can’t.

These time-tested proven tips will help provide relationship resilience over the next several weeks.  Put them into practice to insure that long after the leftovers are gone, your relationships are still in tact.

Get Along Better provides you relationship tips with a twist of humor.  Want more?  4,000+ years’ worth of advice are documented in Everlasting Matrimony: Pearls Of Wisdom From Couples Married 50 Years Or More, a coffee-table book by Sheryl Kurland.  An excellent gift for weddings, anniversaries, engagements…or just because!

4 Relationship Tips As Spooky As Halloween

October 25, 2012

I vividly remember three Halloweens.  One, as a kid, I was a bit obsessed with organization.  My neighborhood had many curvy streets.  I always wanted my younger sister to be happy.  So, one year I slaved over mapping out a route to assure she got gobs of candy during our trick or treat time.  Two, still a kid, I went trick or treating with a friend, and there was a house with no lights on outside but we could see lights on inside.  Our neighborhood was always safe, so we made a joint decision to ring the doorbell.  A woman gave us big handfuls of candy, which thrilled us.  When we got home and went through our bags of loot, we realized she had dumped trash in our bags.  Three, as an adult, one year my husband dressed as Dracula and sat outside our front door stone-cold until kids approached him…at which time he bellowed out his vampire howl and scared the bajeezus out of them.  The shenanigans didn’t end there.  The kids had to “earn” their candy by putting their hands into holes carved into a box and feeling the unknown goo.  One smarty-pants said, “That’s pasghetti!”  Mr. and Mrs. Dracula got a mighty big chuckle.

Halloween celebration, much like our relationship with the one we love, is full of ups and downs.  As you contemplate which bags of candy to buy for your trick-or-treaters this year, give some thought to these spooky Halloween-related relationship tips:

  1. Don’t be fearful of ghost and goblins.  The aura of Halloween is scary.  Although creepy things may happen and frightening things pop out in the night, trick-or-treaters keep their eye on the goal — candy.  Relationships can be fearful, too.  “Ghosts” are unforeseen challenges.  “Goblins” are annoyances that bother you about your partner.  Life is full of curve balls, good and bad.  And your partner’s irksome habits will always annoy you.  These are some of the bumps in every relationship.  The important part is to deal with them as a couple, and by doing so you will reap the “candy,” the delicious rewards of being together.
  2. Wear a costume only for risqué fun together.  On Halloween it’s tradition to dress up as some other character.  This concept doesn’t work in a loving relationship.  You have to show up as yourself.  100% authentic.  100% honest.  When one or both parties pretend to be someone they’re not – “wear a costume” – the relationship is doomed to failure.  As hard as you may try to sustain the falseness or withhold guilt, sooner or later it will seep out in destructive ways.  If you want a great relationship, and to make it even greater, reserve the costume for sexual play!
  3. You’ve got to howl.  The epic soundtrack of Halloween is the howling of wolves, a wonderous song heard through the darkness.  Have you ever observed or seen film footage of a wolf howling?  Their entire being is engaged.  Their focus intense.  Every sense participates.  For humans, these same traits are the essence of a meaningful relationship.  Full engagement requires drawing from deep within your soul, opening yourself to feel without boundaries, living with intensity, and allowing complete vulnerability.
  4. Avoid the vampire that wants to suck your blood.  Ah, seduction, temptation, manipulation, and power.  They are all the “vampire” of love.  Your relationship will be threatened by intruders, people and circumstances they will make you ponder, “Should I stay?”  These moments can either destroy or strengthen your relationship.  You must consciously decide whether it’s worth the risk, worth putting all you have built together in jeopardy.  Can’t decide?  Remember: The grass is usually greenest under your own two feet.

Get Along Better provides you relationship tips with a twist of humor.  Want more?  4,000+ years’ worth of advice are documented in Everlasting Matrimony: Pearls Of Wisdom From Couples Married 50 Years Or More, a coffee-table book by Sheryl Kurland.  An excellent gift for weddings, anniversaries, engagements…or just because!

End Of NFL Referee Strike Good For Marriages

September 28, 2012

Courtesy of Reuters

Now that the referee strike is over and football season kicks into high gear, it’s normally the time condolences are extended to football widows across America.  However, instead of wallowing in loneliness, it’s the prime season for wives to revitalize their marriage.

Wives have 50% of the power in a marriage and ‘alone’ time is one of the best times to take steps to improve the relationship.  This isn’t about putting on a sexy negligée and trying to distract your husband in-between touchdowns.  Instead, wives need to seize the opportunity football season provides to make points in ways that will enhance the relationship over the long term.

5 Marriage Tips For Football Widows

  1. Get your own life.  Develop your own personal interests.  Long-married, happy couples say that having both independent and interdependent interests keeps the relationship lively.
  2. Fill the refrigerator/freezer with delicious, healthy food.  There’s truth to the saying, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”  A husband adores a wife who looks out for his appetite and well being.
  3. Send an “I love you” text when his team makes a touchdown.  Get a group together of four other football widows whose husbands are all watching the same football game, and assign each wife to follow one quarter of the game.  Text or call each other when the team scores, which should trigger you to send a quick hurrah cheer or “xoxo” text to your husband.  Your husband will be impressed!
  4. Later, ask some questions about the football game experience.  The questions don’t need to be specific to the game, just general, such as “Did you have fun with the guys?”; “That’s great [fill in blank] won” or “Sorry [fill in blank] lost.”  You’ll likely just get responses in small sound bites (how men converse), but, be assured, they appreciate that you care about what’s important to them.
  5. When your husband is home decompressing, occasionally give him a shoulder massage or back rub.  Watching all that football is exhausting, afterward.  He will love you all over again with your soothing affection.  But don’t act every time.  The element of surprise will make the stroking even more treasured.

Get Along Better provides you relationship tips with a twist of humor.  Want more?  4,000+ years’ worth of advice are documented in Everlasting Matrimony: Pearls Of Wisdom From Couples Married 50 Years Or More, a coffee-table book by Sheryl Kurland.  An excellent gift for weddings, anniversaries, engagements…or just because!

The One Thing A Man Wants Most – And It’s Not What You Think

September 9, 2012

What does a man want most?  Your first guess is wrong.  IT’S NOT SEX!  Think ABOVE the waist.

In today’s society, immense pressure is put on men.  They’re not allowed to be seen crying.  Why is it only women sob with grief at funerals?  And only women cry tears of happiness at weddings?

Men are ingrained to be fearful of showing their emotions.  They stuff their feelings way deep down.  Don’t want to be thought of as a wimp.  Or sissy.  Or weak.  Or unstable.

If you think women are objectified in the media, on TV and in the movies, to be skinny and gorgeous, pay attention to how men are treated.  It’s equally sexually abusive, maybe even worse.  Men have two choices: 1) either hunks and smoking hot, or 2) buffoons.  In the movies, the stud gets the voluptuous babe.  TV commercials often treat dads as buffoons, fools, clueless, a total putz.  Take Viagra or Cialis, and you return to #1.  Maybe this explains why the first instinctive answer to the question “What do men want most?” is “sex.”

Good guys will give the shirt off their back to anyone in need.  But they do it quietly, not seeking any attention or recognition.  Good husbands will drop everything in a heartbeat to come to the rescue of their spouse or partner.  Good dads slave to juggle bringing home a decent paycheck and having energy to make their kids feel like a million bucks.  Sex is nowhere in this picture.

What men want most is APPRECIATION.  They feel validated by a simple “thank you” from those they help.  They feel validated by the back rub their spouse or partner gives them after a hard day’s work.  They feel validated by the hugs their children give them.  They feel validated when they fix things and everyone raves over the outcome.  They feel validated by the sound of laughter they triggered by creating fun for others.

A wife called me not too long ago to talk about problems going on between her and her hubbie.  After some conversation, I asked her….

Sheryl: “What has your husband done lately that you ‘appreciated’?”

Wife: “He fixed our stove.  One of the burners wasn’t working and he did the repair work.  It works perfectly now.”

Sheryl: “Did you say to him something like ‘Thanks, Honey.  You did a great job.  I really appreciate it.’  And then give him a kiss on top of that?”

Wife: “No, it didn’t dawn on me.  He just fixes everything.  That’s what he always does.”

A few days later, the wife called me back……

Wife: “I told my husband how much I ‘appreciated’ him fixing the stove.  His eyes lit up.  It made him feel so good.  I think he was stunned that I thanked him. I had no idea that it would have such an impact on him.”

Yes, men like great sex.  And delicious food.  And snazzy cars.  And cool gizmos and gadgets.  But one thing supercedes everything else: APPRECIATION.

Get Along Better provides you relationship tips with a twist of humor.  Want more?  4,000+ years’ worth of advice are documented in Everlasting Matrimony: Pearls Of Wisdom From Couples Married 50 Years Or More, a coffee-table book by Sheryl Kurland.  An excellent gift for weddings, anniversaries, engagements…or just because!

The 4 Reasons Tom Cruise And Katie Holmes Are Getting Divorced

July 2, 2012

Kaput! It’s over…but it was over before the wedding.

The media is acting bewildered by “What went wrong?” in the five-year marriage of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.  I know the answers.  Although I’ve never met either, like millions around the globe, I’ve been subjected to ridiculous amounts of media hype about this couple.  Also, I’ve interviewed hundreds of couples married over 50 years, 75 whom are featured in Everlasting Matrimony: Pearls Of Widom From Couples Married 50 Years Or More. Here are the four main reasons Tom and Katie are getting divorced:

  1. Tom jumped on Oprah’s couch.  This should have been the first red flag for Katie.  Sure, any woman would be smitten by a man who so boldly professes his love for her on Oprah’s couch with millions viewing worldwide.  But Tom really had to do something big.  At that time, 2005 and in his early 40’s, he was already divorced twice and had multiple failed “serious” relationships.  50% of first marriages fail.  67% of second marriages fail.  And 74% of third marriages fail.  A divorcee takes their baggage with them to each subsequent relationship.  Tom had a volcano full.  Naïve Katie, 16 years his junior, didn’t do her homework.
  2. Katie converted to Scientology.  She was raised Roman Catholic.  For those who are devout in their faith, as Katie was, it is a big part of their identity and a lifestyle.  She gave up both when she converted to Scientology.  Big mistake that turns into hate and resentment.  (This is not to say interfaith marriages can’t be successful.  Many are.  But any couple in a loving interfaith marriage will tell you it’s a huge challenge that’s harder than they ever thought it would be.  Interfaith marriages that are smoothest occur when one spouse is not deeply rooted in their religion and therefore, at ease to be faith flexible.)
  3. Tom and Katie were doomed by money and materialism.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having an abundance of wealth and possessions.  But, if you want to find out if you really love somebody, imagine having barely anything.  Do you still love the core person?  The majority of couples married 50-plus years ago who I interviewed started off nearly broke.  A place to live, a decent bed, and a kitchen table and chairs were treasured.  They loved each other and looked forward to building a life together.  I doubt Tom and Katie ever looked at their relationship from this perspective.  Money and materialism — shed them, and if you don’t have each other, you have nothing.
  4. Tom is a control freak.  News reports say Tom is “shocked” that Katie filed for divorce.  Either Tom has had his head in the sand or he has such an enormous ego he believes all the problems are with her or he’s lying.  Probably all three.  Note to Tom: Katie is sick and tired of you running her life!  Intuition tells me, for example: When Katie was in “All My Sons” on Broadway in 2008, Tom was a news headliner again (like on Oprah), making more bold statements about how phenomenal his wife was in the show.  I can guarantee you that on the homefront he was telling her everything she did wrong on stage and how to do it right.  Multiply this crap a few thousand times over and, sooner or later, the abused spouse either shuts down and stays in the relationship because they’re too embarrassed or intimidated or financially dependent to leave, or they get enough balls to say, “Shove it up your ass.  I’m out of here you fool!”  Finally, Katie has done the latter.

Get Along Better provides you relationship tips with a twist of humor.  Want more?  4,000+ years’ worth of advice are documented in Everlasting Matrimony: Pearls Of Wisdom From Couples Married 50 Years Or More, a coffee-table book by Sheryl Kurland.  Makes an excellent gift for weddings, anniversaries, engagements…or just because!

New Olympic Sport, Synchronized Sex

June 18, 2012

Olympic buzz is building as we countdown to July 27, the day of opening ceremonies in London.  Visions of watching synchronized swimming creep out of my memory.  I always think that TV broadcasters covering this competition have to restrain themselves from giggling.  The sport is frequently the butte of jokes by late-night comedians.

Often, people confide their relationship and marriage problems in me since I’ve absorbed knowledge through interviews with hundreds of couples married 50-plus years, 75 of whom are featured in Everlasting Matrimony: Pearls Of Wisdom From Couples Married 50 Years Or More.  A common theme among these confidants is “synchronized sex.”

I’ve been told…..

“My partner wants sex in the early morning to start the day off with a bang but I want it at night to help soothe me so I can fall asleep.”

“My husband puts in a hard day’s work at the office and says he needs a stress reliever.  I want sleep after a full day’s work with the kids.  I can’t even fathom a romantic impulse.  I moan ‘Move over’ and pull the covers over my head.  He has another type of moaning in mind.” 

“My partner always wants to do it on Sunday mornings.  I say ‘I’ll be late for church.’”

“I suggest ‘Let’s have a quickie during lunch time.’  He says ‘I’ve got a lunch appointment.’”

“The door is locked.  The bedroom is dark.  The radio plays soft music.  Then there’s a knock on the door and a small voice squeals, ‘Mommy, I don’t feel good.’”

“In the middle of the night I hear a whisper, ‘Honey, I can’t sleep.’  I can.”

“Synchronized sex” is not defined as people simultaneously doing the same thing like synchronized swimming but rather a challenge that on the surface sounds much simpler — two people just getting together to do the “sport.”

There are some predictable schedule times for synchronized sex success.  Such as when a hurricane hits.  Stuck indoors, what can we do?  Or when a soldier returns home from his/her tour of duty.  Nine months later, there’s a baby.  Ironically though, the problem becomes worse than ever.

I asked some mental health counselors for their advice to couples dealing with the problem of finding time for sex.  Their advice ranged from scheduling appointments with each other just as you schedule everything else in your life to “planned spontaneity,” such as going on a schedule-free vacation.  One emphasized, “Men don’t realize that picking up their own socks, remembering to put the toilet seat down, and helping clean around the house are aphrodisiacs.  These efforts encourage their female partner to feel thought of, considered, and loved.  In return, she is delighted to be intertwined with her man as a way of conveying ‘thank-you for thinking of me.’”

I had the honor of interviewing world-renowned psychosexual therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer a few years ago.  I asked her the $6 million question every couple wants to know, “What’s normal?”  Dr. Ruth said, “It doesn’t matter whether what two people do is ‘normal,’ it only matters that the couple is pleased with the results.’”

(Dr. Ruth also shared her thoughts about sex versus affection.  To this she said, “Sex and affection are not mutually exclusive.  People need to be hugged, to feel the emotion of affection, and they also need to find sexual satisfaction.  They’re both components of a sexual relationship, but they’re also separate needs.  They’re both important, though to a different degree to each partner in a relationship.”)

During the Olympics, TV commentators give immense attention to explaining what athletes do to master their sport.  Synchronized swimming takes relentless dedication and focus as well as physical and mental agility to achieve harmony with each other.  Couples need to borrow these skills to master “synchronized sex”!

Get Along Better provides you relationship tips with a twist of humor.  Want more?  4,000+ years’ worth of advice are documented in Everlasting Matrimony: Pearls Of Wisdom From Couples Married 50 Years Or More, a coffee-table book by Sheryl Kurland.  Makes an excellent gift for weddings, anniversaries, engagements…or just because!

Best Father’s Day Gifts Cost Less Than A Dime

May 31, 2012

In divorce court, dads get the shaft.  In TV commercials, dads are characterized as stupid buffoons.  In the movies, dads are portrayed as slime balls hungry for the woman (not their wife) with the biggest bosoms.  This Father’s Day, it’s time to quit giving dads a bad rap.  What dads truly want on Father’s Day (June 17) and all other days of the year is both simple and free: to be appreciated.

Listed below are 10 of the best “gifts” to give Dad that cost little or nothing.  No assembly required.  But first, a brief history lesson…..

Where did Father’s Day come from?  Father’s Day was created in gratitude by a daughter who thought that her father and all good fathers should be honored with their own day just like we honor mothers on Mother’s Day.  Born in 1882, Sonora Smart Dodd was raised by her father, William Jackson Smart, after her mother died giving birth to a sibling.  In her teenage years, Sonora wanted her father to know how special he was to her, to show appreciation for all his parental sacrifices and for being such a courageous, selfless, and loving man. Sonora’s father was born in June, so she chose to hold the first Father’s Day celebration in Spokane, Washington, on June 19, 1910.

In 1926, a National Father’s Day Committee was formed in New York City.  Father’s Day was recognized by a Joint Resolution of Congress in 1956.  In 1972, President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father’s Day to be celebrated annually on the third Sunday of June.

Best Father’s Day Gifts For Less Than A Dime

Skip the tie.  Forego the cologne and gizmos.  Make it a day Dad will never forget:

  1. Let Dad channel surf to his heart’s content!  Only he picks the TV shows.  No one argues or complains.
  2. Give Dad 3 sincere compliments sprinkled throughout the day.
  3. Tell Dad 3 things you deeply appreciate that he does for you without him giving them a second thought.
  4. Give Dad a big Papa Bear hug.  Add a family group hug with Dad sandwiched in the middle.
  5. What’s been on his mind lately? What’s been stressing him out?  Think of ways you can help relieve the situation, accomplish the goal, or provide emotional support.
  6. Determine 2 topics of importance to you, and have a real conversation about them with Dad.   Ask him for his words of wisdom.  Listen attentively.  Be respectful.
  7. Invite Dad to go for a walk, jog, or bike ride with you.
  8. If you live miles apart and can only call Dad, commit to a light-hearted phone conversation.  Make him laugh.  Keep it positive.  No complaints or talk about personal or business problems, physical ailments, or money issues allowed.
  9. At the family dinner, make a special toast to Dad.  Make him feel like a king by focusing the conversation on boosting his ego.
  10. What chores does Dad always do?  Pick 2 and do them for him.  Meet his standards.

Bonus: Display greater patience and tolerance for the things Dad does that annoy you.

Get Along Better provides you relationship “tips” with a twist of humor.  Want more?  4,000+ years’ worth of advice from “real-life experts” are documented in Everlasting Matrimony: Pearls Of Wisdom From Couples Married 50 Years Or More, a coffee-table book by Sheryl Kurland.  Makes an excellent gift for weddings, anniversaries, engagements…or just because!

First Graders Cure Depression*

May 23, 2012

Sometimes you find remedies for ailments in the most unexpected places.

Michelle’s legs were spread eagle 180 degrees while she sat with an easy-read book on the floor.  “Are you a gymnast?” I asked.  Her tiny little voice answered, “Yes, how do you know?”

Robert read to me while we sat in the school hallway just outside his classroom.  Ever since 1960, Sam I Am still doesn’t like Green Eggs and Ham!  Syllable by syllable, Robert worked hard to keep pace with the tongue-tying rhymes.  “Do you know I have head lice?” he asked.  Whaaaaaaaaaat?  This sentence wasn’t on the page.  Calmly, I responded, “The End.”  Suddenly itching all over, I escorted him back into the classroom and discussed the matter with his teacher.

I led a treasure-chest board game involving matching prefixes to word endings.  In group rotation, group three, comprised of five students, the conversation among the children drifted to religion.  Lord Have Mercy!  “God is in the sky.”  “No he isn’t.  God is Jesus.”  “God isn’t a person, silly.”  “You know there’s a devil.”  A secular debate was underway.

I got invited to Mitchell’s 7th birthday party.  But due to the last minute notification – he blurted it out from the lunch line, I had a schedule conflict.  Mitchell was a spelling wizard.  He could spell anything, and I do mean a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g.

Sassy Susie wore chic eyeglasses.  Alternating between purple passion and perky pink.  Then none.  I inquired why they were missing.  Ticked off, she responded, “They were expensive, $200 for two pairs at Eyeglass Superstore.  I broke them both.  My mom says next time she’s going to get me army eyeglasses.”

There’s a famous book called Tuesdays With Morrie.  I think I should write one, Mondays With Mrs. Mofair.  My last day of one-hour weekly volunteering for her first-grade class at a local elementary school was yesterday.  Most people dread Mondays, back-to-the-grind day.  I have loved them.  If I was feeling blue or stressed before 9:45 am, I was happy as a lark by 10:45 am.

On my last day, the class presented me with a flowering plant planted in a clay pot.  Around the pot’s rim was inscribed, “Thank you for helping us bloom.”  And every child autographed the pot.

And lest I should never forget the joy, they left me with one final memory to embed.  A group hug.  20 angels squeezing me.  One boy ordered (and they all obeyed), “Okay everybody, let’s lean to the right!”

*All of these events happened but actual names have been changed.

Get Along Better provides you relationship “tips” with a twist of humor.  Want more?  4,000+ years’ worth of advice from “real-life experts” are documented in Everlasting Matrimony: Pearls Of Wisdom From Couples Married 50 Years Or More, a coffee-table book by Sheryl Kurland.  Makes an excellent gift for weddings, anniversaries, engagements…or just because!

The Odd Thing You Don’t Know About Donna Summer

May 18, 2012

You shouldn’t be embarrassed about or ashamed of your fears.


Sadness weighs heavy in the hearts of millions of fans mourning the passing of disco icon Donna Summer.  Although I parted with my silky smooth, wrinkle-free brown, black, blue, and red quiana wrap-around dance skirts decades ago, the memories have never faded.

In the late 1970’s, innumerable hours were spent every Saturday night as the lovelorn, me included, jammed into discotheques………

Lookin’ for some hot stuff, baby, this evenin’
I need some hot stuff, baby, tonight
I want some hot stuff, baby, this evenin’

If you found yourself some hot stuff, expectations in the bedroom were incredibly challenged in Love To Love You Baby.

Donna Summer’s music tackled social woes, i.e., prostitution – She Worked Hard For The Money, divorce – Starting Over Again, but I think most of us paid more attention to the thumping beat than the song lyrics.

One night in the early 1990’s, my husband and I went to a Donna Summer concert at an outdoor amphitheatre in the Washington, D.C. area.  Summers was a unifying force, as the audience was largely a mix of straight and gay couples.  One song after another, her powerhouse vocals revived memories of flashing lights and the spinning silver ball.  Suddenly, somewhere inbetween the toot toot, hey, beep beep, Summers screamed.  A big scream.  The music instantly stopped.  The crowd was agasp.  No one knew what was going on.  Terror rippled through the audience.  Summer’s pointed at something and her drummer got up.  He walked toward the front of the stage, reached down, cupped one hand and moved it in a scooping motion.  It was a bug!  Summers was afraid of bugs and one had landed on the stage.  With the bug gone, Summers reconvened.

Donna Summer, thank you for all the good times and may you rest in peace.

Camp Get-Me-Outta-Here

May 14, 2012

Kumbaya my Lord, kumbaya, oh Lord, kumbaya.

100 bottles of beer on the wall.  100 bottles of beer.  Take one down, pass it around, 99 bottles of beer on the wall.  99 bottles of beer on the wall……..

Ah, those tunes we sang around the campfire.  As the school year winds down, parents prepare to gleefully embrace the next season, sending their children to summer camp.  Yipee!  Time to clip the apron strings.

I went away to overnight camp twice in my childhood, and there’s one thing I learned that stands out among all other lessons: I hate camp.

Learning survival skills in the wilderness with mosquitoes buzzing around my ears while I was trying to get some sleep was, well, sleepless.  Where do I plug in my hair blower?  You want me to dig a hole and do what in where?

We swam in a scummy lake and took timed swimming tests.  I excelled only in treading water…because there was no damn way I was going to let my feet touch the muck on the bottom.  Frankly I had been perfectly happy at home doing Weeki Wachee mermaid routines with my younger sister in our big swimming pool in our back yard.

At age 12, I was a junior counselor for a cabin of 6 year-olds.  It was the first day of horseback riding class.  Everybody mounted a horse and entered the ring.  The trainer announced, “If anyone feels afraid, you can just walk your horse to the center of the ring.”  The senior counselor and I did just that.

There was an Olympics day.  The entire camp, probably 500 kids, divided into two teams, blue and white, and competed in every sport imaginable.  I wanted to be on silver, as in the silver airplane to fly me home.

But lest I forget, I was a competitor…in playing jacks.  The game with the bouncing ball and metal spiked things.  You throw the ball up in the air and pick up as many jacks as you can while only allowing the ball to bounce once.  Hours upon hours I practiced.  I got so good I could pick up about 20 jacks in one toss.  What a remarkable accomplishment for my parents to have made such a huge investment in, unknowingly.

And, in trampoline class I got the “Most Likely To Succeed” award.

And, I won the “Neatest Cubbyhole” award (where we kept our clothes) for an entire month.

Since I hated those two camps, I decided to launch the best camp ever: Camp Sheryl.  I corralled the boys and girls in my neighborhood for one week.  Parents about kissed my feet as they plunked out $5 per kid.  At my house, from sun-up to sundown, I created a schedule that was a ton of fun.  The kids all laughed a lot, especially when Debbie R. fell into the swimming pool with her go-go boots on.

Looking back on my camp history, the moral of the story is when you’re not having fun, you have to create your own.

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