Friday Night Flight

beer tastingToday I was planning to publish a post about the challenge of balancing work with family and other commitments, keeping the first’s importance in perspective in relation to the rest of life’s riches.

free beerSpring semester starts on Monday, however, and I’ve been buried in reading for classes, writing syllabi, and preparing schedules, so I haven’t found (made?) time to complete my blog writing.

Ah, life’s little ironies.

In another twist, instead of slavish devotion to syllabi or essay construction, I elected to go out for a beer with a few of my co-workers and hubby Steve this evening.

I’ll make that essay happen, and I hope you’ll find it worthy. In the meantime, I hope that by putting friends and family first tonight, I’m being a good role model and practicing a little of what I’ll be preaching.


cheers for beer

Epiphany, in Five Trees

1. In a Carton

wine with treeIt’s a blustery Friday night, one week before Christmas. Outside, the wind whistles past the dining room windows while inside, cozy and warm, Steve and I sit across the table from one another, bellies full of delicious Lebanese take-out. It’s our first married Christmas, and after two years of whirlwind holiday traveling to Las Vegas (my family) and Oxford, England (his), it’s our first to be celebrated at home. Nearby, in the living room of our new house, a Christmas tree lies compressed in a large cardboard box, awaiting assembly and festive accoutrement. We pour second glasses of red wine, the Pinot catching the light from the chandelier above as I lift my glass. Steve smiles, offers a “Cheers” and a gentle clink. We sip and savor, share another smile.

And then each of us grabs one of the stacks of papers sitting in the middle of the table, and we begin the marathon push to complete end-of-semester grading. We’ll get to the tree tomorrow. Continue reading

The Newlywed Lunarversary: A Matter of Time

This Saturday is mine and Steve’s three-month wedding anniversary. When we commented over Thanksgiving that we could go out to dinner in Portland to celebrate the date since we’d be traveling, one of the boys guffawed, teasing us for tracking months, saying three wasn’t much of an accomplishment since most anyone could make a marriage last that long. (Well, except Britney Spears.) But recent events have reminded me that none of us is guaranteed days much less years, so we might as well honor the middling milestones. I’m glad I married a man who shares that same spirit, even if we sometimes struggle to make it happen.

As our first-month anniversary approached, I thought it would be sweet for us to acknowledge our wedding date each month, but I knew if we were going to, we’d need to make a deliberate plan. Both Steve and I are prone to letting the distractions of the day-to-day get the best of our good intentions. Planning something even small and silly would be good for us, help us stay in balance and keep romance present. Continue reading

Blogger Recognition Award

During this season of celebrating gratitude, I’d like to thank Carrie of sexandtheshires for awarding me with a Blogger Recognition Award!

The terms of the award ask me to reflect on why I started my blog, offer some blogging tips, and nominate some other bloggers whose work I find inspiring. So, here goes!

I started Forty-Something First-Time Bride for several reasons. When I got engaged in my mid-forties and began navigating my new identity as a bride, I was excited but also overwhelmed and occasionally flabbergasted at the weird world of 21st-century weddings. I’d been working on a creative nonfiction manuscript of my mid-life dating years, and mid-life marriage seemed equally rich with material. I thought of the blog as the sequel to the manuscript (or more accurately, the manuscript is now the backstory to the blog). As a writer, committing to making regular posts on a blog gave me a sense of accountability and deadlines. As a bride, blogging allowed me to document and share my engagement and wedding with far away friends and family as well as other women in love. I’ve also enjoyed the community aspect of blogging. Continue reading

Fall, in Love

golden leavesLast year around this time, as we scuffled through the fallen leaves covering a local park trail, my now-husband Steve recalled an article he’d seen about the process by which leaves change colors. The brilliant orange and yellow and red hues of autumn are always present in the leaves, the article asserted, though we see them only in the fall. In spring and summer they are masked by chlorophyll’s green. As the production of chlorophyll wanes, the bright, varied colors that were always underneath emerge to glow against the steel grays and robin’s egg blues of an October sky. The writer likened this process to the presence of God in everyone, using it as a metaphor for a kind of true spiritual beauty that all possess, even when it’s not readily apparent.

That’s a lovely idea, and the writer mostly got the science correct: carotenoids, the pigments that produce yellow, orange, and brown, are present in leaves year-round and revealed in autumn; the compounds called anthocyanins that make leaves turn red, however, are manufactured in the fall in response to a combination of light and an abundance of sugars. In any case, the process put me in mind of a slightly different metaphor. Continue reading

Ripples and Reflections

Wading in Great Salt Lake

brine shrimp lay eggsIMG_5995

that lie dormant through drought

ten years suspended—

a few drops of water,

and they hatch

without a hitch


no wonder they dance

in whole body jazz hands

sometimes the wait

is worth the miracle


Travel to a conference in Utah this week re-set my posting schedule along with my alarm clock. Faced with a decision between staying in and writing or seizing a new adventure, well: sometimes it’s necessary to stop and breathe the brine. My visit to this natural wonder was only too brief, maybe half an hour. But for those minutes of walking an ethereal landscape, my sense of being so baldly exposed and sized to scale left me feeling both insignificant and strangely empowered. I am small, but I am seen.

For those spending the weekend in Southwest Virginia parts, I want to give a shout out to the OneLove Wedding Expo set for today, Sunday, November 8th, at the Sheraton Roanoke Hotel and Conference Center. Readers might recall my April post on the Weddings for Equality Vendor Showcase. The OneLove Expo is organized by the same great folks, and it promises to be a fun day and an excellent resource to find gay-friendly wedding vendors.

marina 2For love’s arrival, for its acceptance: so glad, for so many of us, that the wait is finally over.