Saturday, June 26, 2010

Monthly Getaway

One of the things we are working to establish as part of our Groundhog Month is a mini vacation. At least once a month we'll try to get out of town from Teri's "Beach Cabin" and my "Mountain Cabin" to a nice getaway. It doesn't even have to involve any days off work. For example, one month we escaped to one of our favorite nearby destinations, the Columbia River Gorge. We had a nice picnic at Stonehenge in the east end of the Gorge, enjoying our favorite healthy fruits and vegetables plus some cheese for protein and some orange juice to cap off the feast. Then after a interesting hilly drive through oak savannah and sights of Mount Adams and Mount Hood from The Dalles to Mosier, we made it to our ultimate destination, Hood River. Next we enjoyed favorite beverages, artichoke dip and pita bread at Full Sail and later dinner out at the Big Horse Pub. The following morning we stopped off for four hours touring the Columbia River Discovery Center and its treasure trove of wonders.

When I proposed, I suggested to Teri that being creative people we could continually evolve our Groundhog Day, Groundhog Weekend, Groundhog Week, Groundhog Month and Groundhog Year into something special. After all, a long-term relationship involves one day at a time. You get up each morning and do it all over again. The challenge is adding some diversity and variety into the mix. Teri is big into twists. I knew with both of our contrarian spirits we could keep things fresh and interesting. We could make a trip to the grocery store into a grand adventure. We could make watching an OPB special on penguins into a party. It's all a matter of perspective, of choosing each day, as Abraham Lincoln suggested, to be happy and have fun.

The same is true of our monthly adventures. Whether they are close to home, or many miles away, we can make the most of whatever environment we find ourselves in to keep the relationship fresh and lively.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Groundhog Day revisited

A long-term relationship is all about getting into a great routine. Even before I met Teri, I knew, from 24 years of marriage, the importance of establishing a good Groundhog Day. Like in the movie starring Bill Murray, it's all about doing things over and over again and seeking better results. It's about making each day your masterpiece.

Our Groundhog Day is constantly evolving. When we are apart, in our separate homes 90 miles distant, we e-mail throughout the day from work, and each evening I try to call Teri and check in. We share the highlights and lowlights of our days, discuss pressing issues and laugh a lot. We share the same moon, and are close in our hearts.

When we are together, Groundhog Day can start with pillow talk, a whispered I love you, a 44-second energy hug, a special moment at 4:44, our lucky number, an OZ 7 stretching/Yoga routine to start the day, a 20-minute-plus energy walk to end the day and so on.

Groundhog Day involves making good nutrition choices, most of the time, sharing chores whenever possible to make the work go quicker, having fun in the grocery store hip-checking each other into the bananas and checking out the other shoppers and some of their more peculiar choices. It involves being present in the moment.

Groundhog Day is about nurturing the relationship and making it fresh squeezed daily. With our combined creativity, our Groundhog Day holds promise to continue evolving forever.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Separation Anxiety

A good test for any relationship, as the romance novels will let you know, is a long separation. Teri and I got our chance when I ran off to Iowa for two weeks in July 2009. The occasion? RAGBRAI, the biggest bicycle ride in America. My friend, Bill, who will also be an usher in my wedding, suggested the trip, and I couldn't say no. It involved riding from west to east across Iowa with 20,000 of my new close, personal friends. Bike riders of all ages, shapes, sizes, colors, religious preferences headed out each day for rides of from 46 to 77 miles as we crossed a corn-intensive bit of paradise. Each evening from my tent I would call Teri on my cell phone and give her an update on our progress and find out about her day. It was sweet. I remember one night in particular. It was raining cats and pigs, and I felt like I was soaked to the soul. I had lost my neurogenic bladder kit out of the back pack on my bicycle due to not shutting the lid properly, and had had to make an emergency dash for a drug store to resupply. Part of the challenge was to see how I could do this ride and not exacerbate symptoms of neurogenic bladder, so the ride was a special challenge for me. I needed my sweetie's encouragement, especially now, in the cold and wet, as the rain continued to pour down outside. And she was there for me.

I missed Teri a lot, during the ride. But it was a good test to see if our relationship could endure more than just our normal weekly separation at our homes 90 miles apart. The answer was a resounding yes.

Maybe someday I will get Teri to ride a big adventure trip with me. Maybe not. Either way, we are happy in encouraging each other to pursue our dreams. We are close together in our hearts whether we are in the same room or 1,500 miles apart but under the same moon.