Posts Tagged ‘rituals of love’

Mourning on the Beach, St. Joe Beach, Florida, iPhone Photo, January 19, 2023, photo © 2023 by Amy S. Gabriel. All rights reserved.

Thinking of my Grandma, who left us 24 years ago today. Hard to believe she has been gone for so much of my adult life. I spent so much time at her house in the summers as a kid. Growing up in a large family in a home where my Mom’s attention and time was always shared among siblings and 15 or more daycare kids, having my Grandma’s undivided attention during those long summer days was a luxury. And she was quick to spoil me! Later in my life, she suffered a debilitating stroke and lost her ability to walk and speak. And then she taught me how to be a caregiver, how to honor commitment, and how many ways there are to communicate without the use of words. For seven years she lived in a body that no longer worked like it once had, with a sharp mind but an inability to do needlework or sell Avon or host big family dinners. During those years she taught me how to accept challenges with grace. She never complained and she never felt sorry for herself despite losing the ability to speak and walk and do so many things that brought her great joy. She continued to love popcorn and Hallmark movies, Jeopardy, Christmas lights, babies, and chili over rice. After my Grandpa died, Dawn and I would take her from Saint Paul to her home in Chippewa Falls, WI on the weekends making countless journeys down 94 in all kinds of weather, her wheelchair and her commode stuffed into our tiny Honda Accord, with Grandma carefully lifted in place into the front seat, tapping her head along to the radio as we sped down the dark interstate on Friday nights. Now I am the age she was when she’d welcome me with open arms at the start of the summer and reluctantly let me go back home when my Mom called and said the gig was up and it was time for me to return to Saint Paul. I am a better person for being loved and cherished by my Grandma Doris, and I will always be grateful for her presence in my life.


About Amy: Amy S. Gabriel is a fourth generation East Sider who lives with her wife of over 30 years on the same street in Saint Paul where at least one Gabriel family has resided for multiple generations. Amy is currently one of three Gabriel households living on that street, located very close to Phalen Lake Regional Park, making it convenient for daily walks with her camera.

Amy is a graduate of St. Catherine University, where she majored in English and Theology and fulfilled her art requirement with a black and white photography class that included unlimited access to the darkroom. When she is not behind the lens of her camera, Amy can be found in her Saint Paul studio on Como Avenue working on her latest tie dye creation, which is her other great artistic passion in life. Amy enjoys road trips, reading, breaking bread with family and friends, and maintaining a daily practice of writing at least 750 words which she began in August 2014. View more of her art work at Recorder of Wonder Photography.


10-minute Writing Practice on the WRITING TOPIC — GRANDMOTHERS, Friday, January 19th, 2023

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Gratitude List 2019, iPhone Shots, November 30th, 2019, photo © 2019 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

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Valentine — My Bad Hair Day, Valentine dessert from Truffles & Tortes,
Droid Shots, original photograph edited with Paper Camera, Golden Valley,
Minnesota, February 2012, photo © 2012 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Imagine my surprise when Liz came home from grocery shopping armed with a large paper bag full of desserts from Truffles & Tortes. We wandered into their specialty chocolates and cakes cafe a few years ago before catching a movie at nearby Willow Creek, and have continued to stop by when we get a longing for gourmet chocolate delights.

My favorite of the four desserts Liz purchased was the torched meringue over thin layers of sponge cake, lemon curd and caramel sauce — Bad Hair Day. Liz fell head over heels for Nirvana, the velvety chocolate mousse with the hidden dome of creme brulee on a bottom of milk chocolate hazelnut praline. If Nirvana with Bad Hair doesn’t strike your fancy, there is always Concerto or Red Velvet Cake. Perhaps someday, we’ll have Truffles cater our wedding.

To all, young and old, single or coupled, I wish you a day full of loving kindness. And I hope you get to share a chocolate with a friend, or even a complete stranger. Because I believe unconditional, inclusive love is what St. Valentine really had in mind. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Red Velvet Valentine (bottom), Chocolate Nirvana, Concerto (top), Valentine desserts from Truffles & Tortes, Droid Shots, original photographs edited with Paper Camera, Golden Valley, Minnesota, February 2012, photos © 2012 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

-posted on red Ravine, Valentine’s Day, Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

-related to posts: WRITING TOPIC — CHOCOLATE, WRITING TOPIC — HAIR, WRITING TOPIC — KINDS OF LOVE, Goodnight Valentine’s, valentine haiku

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Marry Me Mandala, for Elizabeth on her birthday, hand-drawn mandala photographed with Canon Powershot & edited with PhotoShop Elements, Golden Valley, Minnesota, January 29th, 2012, photo © 2011-2012 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

On the day you were born,
it's plain to see, the Moon and the Stars
aligned with the Sea—
a wild heart so caring and free
a better Aquarius you could never be!

If beauty rises from the love we carry
I see no reason why we should not marry
let the rest of the world fight over what it all means,
I know our love is everything it seems.

I want to live with you all the days of my life,
through thick and thin, amid hardship and strife,
from deaths and births and the long Dark Night
spring Joy and Art, and a good snowball fight.

Last night when we danced on the studio floor
I felt your love swell inside once more.
In bearing witness, here for all to see,
it's your birthday, Elizabeth, will you marry me?

-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, January 29th, 2012, for Shug

-related to posts: Gratitude Mandala — Giving Thanks

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Remember the song we sang in grade school?

Kim and Buck-y
sittin’ in a tree

First comes Love
then comes Marriage
then comes Baby in a Baby Carriage.

Then Kim turns red; Bucky, too. They both say Nah-ah, and we all say Yeah-hah. Then everyone scatters on the playground.

The rituals of Love. For a long time I thought they were more or less limited to The Crush, Dating, Going Steady, Getting Engaged, and, finally, Marriage and Babies (which, as a kid, I lumped together on account of the first marriage among my siblings being the Shotgun variety).

As I got older I came to realize that somewhere after The Baby Carriage there is also Monotony, Incredibly Hard Work With Little Reward, Fighting, Something Akin to Hatred, and in over 50% of cases, Divorce. Oh yeah, and don’t forget Shared Custody.

The rituals of Love. My, how they’ve changed since the days of Kim and Bucky on the playground. 

My marriage resides somewhere between Incredibly Hard Work and Fighting, usually a step this side of Fighting. It’s actually reached a comfortable place, where it might even be able to live ’til death due us part. Living, loving, arguing, loving, living, arguing.

Mom always told me it was good to fight in a marriage. She didn’t elaborate, but she did role model. Usually she was trying to soothe me as I sat in the back seat of the car, hands clutching ears, wailing so as to divert attention from their yelling to my panic that this was in fact It!

I’m pretty sure Mom would take issue with LiveScience when it touts a new study that suggests marriage as a treatment for depression. According to LiveScience, the study shows that marriage provides a greater psychological boost for depressed people than it does for happy people. (Bella DePaulo does a thorough treatment of the study in her blog on Huffington Post.)

Maybe Mom was never depressed enough. She was certainly hot-tempered and liked her naps each day, and she played poker for 30 years in spite of Dad’s insistence that she not. Which, now that I think of it might account for the other bit of marriage advice she always dispensed, which was, Don’t do it.

Or maybe the study was done by the same pro-marriage people (and, specifically, pro-men-and-women-only-marriage people) who sponsored the billboard in Albuquerque that reads something like “Married people have better sex lives.” Better than what?

It hasn’t been my experience that marriage is particularly therapeutic nor hot-and-heavy. I don’t mean to open a can of worms here, and I don’t mean to put down Marriage, especially my own, but Marriage can be great at times, and at times it sucks. Let’s be realistic. Some unions just plain shouldn’t have happened they’re so bad. Others are downright bizarre (just see the documentary Crazy Love, or if it hasn’t come to your town read this review). And a few lucky ones appear to be made in heaven. Appear to be.

Maybe I’m being self-centered, but I tend to believe most normal, relatively healthy marriages mirror my own. My marriage, like me, is presently middle-aged. Sometimes lamenting younger, more experimental days. Sometimes dreading what’s on the other side of the hill. Often operating with enough living under its belt to know which battles to pick and when to quietly appreciate the periods where not only is there no battle at hand but, in fact, a deep sense of peace and contentment. 

For the most part I believe my marriage will see the Golden Years and, knock on wood, eventually Very Old Age. I figure the longer I stick with it, the more I’ll master the art of compromise. Mom and Dad, now in their eighties, fight less and rely more on their companionship than ever before. I’ve talked to each one of them, in private, about their marriage. Mom still sometimes says in that voice of hers, “I can’t stand him.” Dad still insists that Mom has always been hard on him.

Marriage is far from perfect, so much so I sometimes can’t understand why it has become the ritual of Love. What I do know is this: Marriage shouldn’t belong to some people and not to others. Everyone should have the right to marry if they want.

If I were in charge of All Things, I’d let anyone who’s willing to swallow the pill go for it. But I’d definitely warn, it’s not a substitute for St. John’s Wort.

Oh, and fighting is OK.

-from Topic post, Rich in Ritual.

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