Two Living as One

Love is remembering the good and seeing the blessing.

Love is remembering the not-so-good, the ugly, and the hard times and knowing that you’d not want to weather that with anyone else.

Love is making mistakes together.

Love is working through and moving two unmovable objects.

Love is happy. Love weeps.
Love doesn’t regret. Love moves forward.

Love can paint over all wrongs and make a carpet stain a fond remembrance.
Love sees the spilled milk and knows it will be cleaned up one day.

All these things and more I am learning from an old friend – teaching me about love not with words but actions.

Love does. Love is not passive.

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Recently, in order to break out of the rut, my wife and I scooped up the dog and went for a drive.  The last such drive sent us to Timbuktu.  Our destination would be a little town with a big history.  Rough and Ready, California.

The Great Republic of Rough and Ready
(excerpted from

By the late 1840s, the population of the town of Rough and Ready had exploded to over 3,000.  The town suffered the effects of general lawlessness and a growing resentment for the government having imposed a Mining Tax on all claims.  On April 7th, 1850, a mass meeting of the townfolks was called to propose seceding from the Union.  The town  reacted by shaking its collective fist at the government with all its taxes and non-existent law and order.  The Great Republic of Rough and Ready was formed that day as a free and independent republic.  In the heat of the rebellion, they elected Col. E.F. Brundage as President. The new President issued Brundage’s Manifesto, which read in part: “We…deem it necessary and prudent to withdraw from said Territory (of California) and from the United States of America to form, peacefully if we can, forcibly if we must, the Great Republic of Rough and Ready.” Along with his Secretary of State, Justice of the Peace Hans Q. Roberts, they signed a constitution similar to that of the United States.

The Great Republic of Rough and Ready lasted only three months as one of the world’s smallest nations.  On July 4th, swept by a patriotic fervor, maybe feeling a little guilty (and possibly, according to some accounts, reacting to the refusal of Nevada City and Grass Valley saloons to sell liquor to the “foreigners” from Rough and Ready) another meeting was held.  The town gave resounding consent to immediately rejoin the Union.  Old Glory went up the flagpole and the whole episode slipped into history.

Today, the town boasts 963 souls (2010 census) and a highly skilled fire department as well as California Historical Landmark #294.  In addition to this there is wonderful re-creation of what I presume are highlights of the town in it’s glory days.

Wonderful, just what the doctor ordered for those cabin fever blues.  We’ll stop for a little photo op and just enjoy what this once sovereign nation has to offer.  This is where the unusual begins… right out of the Twilight Zone.

I see no obvious place to park, but then we’re on the highway through town.  I quickly slow down proceed down the drive on the left.  Immediately upon turning into this drive I spy that foreboding sign which says, “Private Property – No Trespassing”.  I look DOWN to the re-creation and it is indeed DOWN – there are no roads leading in and none leading out.  This photo was taken (not by me) at ground level.  It is at least 12 feet DOWN over the rock embankment to even enter this area by foot.

Being the conscientious tourist, I made my 5 point turn to get out of the private driveway.  Fully expecting we did not pass the parking area, we drive further down the highway.  About ¼ mile further we are obviously out of town and it is time to make a u-turn on California Route 20.  Traffic is virtually non-existent so I drive through town ever so slowly looking for the designated parking.  There is a huge (for this town) parking lot at the local fire station – but again, clearly posted is “no parking”.

About ¼ mile up the road, in the town center, is the post office and general store.  OK, so there is parking in this town.  We stop in the store for a quick snack to double what is likely the entire tourist income for that day.  I decide we’ll walk down the highway and check it out.  A little odd, thinks me, but hey it’s their town they can do things the way they want.

Now, for what seems like half of this distance the fog line (the solid white line on the right shoulder) is less than 1 inch from the edge of pavement and a several foot drop off.  At this point I have to say to myself – I wonder if there are paramedics in the fire department.  They must have at least one pedestrian-vs.-vehicle-traveling-at-high-velocity accidents a month.

Without testing my paramedic puzzling’s, we arrive at the re-creation, which the above photo does no justice.  There is a staircase leading into the depression which contains our goal.  A large sign on the staircase says, “KEEP OUT”.  Due to the position of this structure we can’t even get a great photo.  In fact the best photo op is smack in the middle of Route 20.

Best I can figure one needs to stop the car in the middle of the highway, take your photos and mosey on.  It might work in a horse-drawn covered wagon but that logging truck barreling up the road might not be exactly slam on those breaks.

Rough and Ready is a unique place indeed. This is a first.  A beautiful re-creation which is only intended to be seen from the peripheral vision while driving by too fast to notice there is no parking, there is no vista point, there is no point to the entire display.

In my opinion the ghosts have a very clear message in this town.  Don’t stop.

See my other forays into adventure.

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I can’t have a blog which purports to deal with relationships without diving into the focal point of this short video.  Let me just say they nailed it when they created this gem.

I won’t stop and consider whether there is truth in this video – if that is not obvious then there’s not much I can say until you gain a little life experience.

I will say the video is not complete.  What each of us are  oblivious to is so very obvious to others.  Each of us falls into this trap unless we are willing to consistently solicit feedback from others’ observations.

Watch this clip and tell me how you think this should be handled.

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George Bernard Shaw on Marriage:
When two people are under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive, and most transient of passions, they are required to swear that they will remain in that excited, abnormal, and exhausting condition continuously until death do them part.” Getting Married, 1908
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Recently my spouse and I decided there’s got to be something better than “the tube” day in and day out.
In the process of trying to find common interests over the course of the last several months, we discovered an interest that would suit both of our diverse personalities AND get us out of the house into the big, big world.
It also lends itself to another common interest – exploring.  The first few excursions have been “nice” but lackluster.  In evaluating where we may have gone wrong it occurred to me that what was missing was focus.
Listed below is the beginnings of a list of “assignments” we’ll give ourselves before embarking on the adventure.  The idea is to choose one, discuss where we might go to fulfill the assignment, then head out the door.
Can you guess the interest based upon the assignment topics?
    • Life in motion
    • I think I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree
    • Every home has a story
    • The psyche of animals
    • Up close and personal
    • Silence in a crowd
    • Captured light
    • Unhidden shadows
    • Architectural tales
    • A story frozen in time
    • Life in panorama
    • Explorations of color
    • Framed
    • A tale of lines, patterns & textures
    • A life’s story
    • The work of water
    • Arrested motion
    • Personality of a vehicle
    • Near and far
    • Up and down
    • The delight of food
    • Follow the leader
    • Unexpected color
    • Compare and contrast
    • Captured
    • Biggest and smallest
    • Self portrait
    • Passivity
    • Lonely places
    The joint activity is…  photography. ..and maybe a picnic or two …and walking the dog along the way.
    If you got more to add, we’re always open.  Post me a comment so I can add to my list.
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    1943: In the middle of World War II, Los Angeles residents believe the Japanese are attacking them with chemical warfare. A thick fog that makes people’s eyes sting and their noses run has taken hold of the city. Visibility is cut down to three city blocks.
    As residents would later find out, the fog was not from an outside attacker, but from their own vehicles and factories. Massive wartime immigration to a city built for cars had made L.A. the largest car market the industry had ever seen. But the influx of cars and industry, combined with a geography that traps fumes like a big bowl, had caught up with Angelenos.
    In the early 1950s Arie Haagen-Smit, a chemist at California Institute of Technology,  “told a populace that didn’t want to hear the truth,” Jacobs said. “When they finally wrapped their heads around reality, they didn’t blame themselves. They blamed the car companies for making defective products.”
    Wow!  It’s my car but not of my doing, it’s the automaker’s fault!
    How often, when confronted with the truth of our lives, do we deflect and say “Well maybe it is my car, but you bought me the car?”
    It’s so easy to shift the blame.  Isn’t that the same old story?
    “Did you eat from that tree I told you not to eat from?”
    “The Woman you gave me as a companion, she gave me fruit from the tree, and, yes, I ate it.”
    GOD said to the Woman, “What is this that you’ve done?”
    “The serpent seduced me,” she said, “and I ate.”
    Genesis 3:11-13 (The Message)
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    In this series I will wanderingly explore the concepts behind what defines the quality of a marriage. How can a marriage be objectively evaluated? And even more importantly what can be done to grow it toward excellence?

    The Face of Sizzle
    This post has been a long time in coming. For me to make a rash statement that marriage should be in a constant “state of sizzle” would be ludicrous. A statement like that would fly contrary to the ups and downs of being human. Or would it?

    What about this “constant state of unrest” I referred to in my self-appointed definition of sizzle? How can sizzle be present when I’m beaten up by life?

    Let me say that sizzle is more than an individual component. Sizzle is not about me; sizzle is about we. In a relationship of a man and a woman, sizzle is what is going on between them. Sizzle is the emotional connection above and outside of each person.

    The face of sizzle does not look like extra-spicy salsa, at least not all the time. Sizzle, however, is that emotional connection between two that carries the couple forward TOGETHER during those tough times and during the better times it carries them into a mild, medium and spicy intimacy.

    What in the world am I saying? I believe sizzle is a factor that IS CONTINUOUS in a relationship. It may not appear the same in all times but it is ever-present and recognizable. When it’s there you know it. You both know it.

    When observed from the outside it looks very much like two people connected by a bond that is ever-stronger, never satisfied with the ho-hum and indeed calls for more. It is a constant reminder that things are always looking up as long as it exists.

    Practically it is two working together, enjoying each other even when they do not enjoy the life-situation at the moment.

    Sizzle rocks!

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    There a saying that goes, “Out of sight, out of mind“.

    There is truth in this but it’s also a lie. The truth is that when not seen we often don’t consciously think about it. BUT it is still in our mind. I am not talking about “in our mind” as in a “storage” context. I mean “in our mind” as in actively turning it over. I firmly believe that just because I am not aware I am thinking about something does not mean I am not thinking about something.

    Triggers, a common term in many circles these days, are one proof case for my point. As some know a trigger is an event that evokes a reaction (see this blogs articles on triggers) that is not in accordance with the situation at hand. On other words the brain is reacting based upon the memories evoked. Out of sight, out of mind? Not at all. The trigger instantly brings us to the point of reacting to the here and now as if it were one more in a long string of injustices, when in fact it is completely unrelated. AND we are often not even aware of why our reaction is more severe than is called for.

    Unless it’s all brought out into the open IT WILL fester, IT WILL dictate, IT WILL cause bitterness, IT WILL cause anger, IT WILL cause self-loathing. Bringing something into sight is like a doctor at the hospital. She opens the wound, scrubs the wound. Does it go away? No. Does it hurt? Yes.

    So then what good is it? Yes. The healing comes with time. Leaving the wound untreated may seem like the best thing to a child but any adult knows that unless the child goes through the pain of exposing and cleansing the wound there is no assurance that it will be able to heal properly – and may cause much more serious damage.

    So, now I get to my instigator for this post. A relationship. The most intimate of relationships, marriage. The unfortunate thing in life is that two people will injure one another. It’s inevitable in this fallen world. Eventually, if left untreated for long enough things begin to fester. We have seen and heard about marriages that reach their breaking point and culminate in serious atrocities committed against one another. Sometimes it looks like aggression, and for some it looks like silence.

    I believe I’ve said it before in this blog – but for sure I have said it before in many places at many times. Whether a couple is “fighting” or running to their separate rooms to avoid the fight – it’s all the same. Both are emotionally injurious to the relationship. In both cases the most basic of human needs, to be loved, is withheld. We’d all look in horror if a newborn were left in a room, fed at regular intervals but had no other contact with their parents. Why do couples who go to their corners somehow think they are better than those that fight? It is abuse in another form. Every human being needs love and attention.

    So what keeps us from doing this. Well to be quite simple… and honest, it’s you.

    “If only you , I could fill your need.” It’s your fault, sure I am not perfect BUT you’re way less perfect.”

    Isn’t that the approach we often have in relationships? Maybe it gets so bad that a friend steps in to help mediate (or we take it to a professional). Most people will often admit they aren’t perfect (to throw us off the scent) and then direct our attention to the matter at hand. Admit it, that bone of “I’m not perfect” is a masked way of saying “Hey, I’m exposing myself so you can see I am NOT the problem”.

    So then what happens when we may be exposed or at least our facade may have a crack in it? You know the answer, if I can’t deflect – I’ll do what it takes to hide who I really am. After all, “you need to understand the PROBLEM is not me”.

    I recall attending marriage counseling years ago thinking “today has been a tough day at work, tough things happened recently in the relationship – I wonder if I’ll be perceived wrongly. Sure, I’ve got issues but you’ve just GOT to see THE PROBLEM!”

    My instinct is self-preservation. Avoiding would give me time to be the rational being I am. After all the ugly is not my norm. Everything we do is about about making sure the big I is presented in the best light. I always ensuring I have justification for the wrongs I have committed. Left without check I will always take care of me.

    Christ said it best, “Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to see the beam of wood in your own? ” Matthew 7:3

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