Follow-up to Berman Article

January 31, 2007


Well, the discussion on the Berman article is very interesting! It didn’t hit me until 2amsomewhere’s comment that this was becoming a bit of a rehash of an earlier theme I hit. But since it has been a couple of years, I’ll gladly do it again all fresh-like.


Cat pointed out that she sees lots of men who shift themselves out of the courting phase of the marriage about as quickly as many women dive into mommyhood. They quit wining and dining, they let themselves go and still expect their wives to look like Jack Bauer.


Or something like that.


I’ll readily admit to having been a guy like that. Seriously, I did engage in blatant and rampant neglect for at least the first 2 years of my marriage, and possibly another year or so of simply blind ignorance. I suppose a body can build up a very big head of resentment in that amount of time. I shifted my attention from courting to providing. It was all about the job, and getting a house and trying to get a fledgling career off the ground. When I came home (late) she was dying to talk to me. I didn’t feel like talking because I’d been at it all day. I was totally out of synch with her needs. Sex became very much a chore for her, at least until we decided we wanted kids. Then it was still a chore but at least it was for a cause she could support! And after that came the postpartum depression and then…


Well that’s when my story really begins. I became aware that there was a bit of a problem. It was a growing problem, and I began working harder and harder to resolve it. And perhaps it was too little too late. Perhaps she’s totally checked out, emotionally.


Having said all that, and having spent the past 5+ years attempting to atone for my previous shortcomings, there is a reason why Berman’s article provokes and resonates. It’s the same reason Dr. Laura had to write her book The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands. It’s this simple fact: when it comes to how men really feel about things, there’s large number of women who simply don’t care. I didn’t read the Craigslist article (blocked by IT censors) but can guess the gist of it. Sure women let themselves go physically the same as men in favor of motherhood, but for the most part men have much lower expectations that women might think. It doesn’t always have to be about putting on all kinds of make-up. NAKED is good! Leave the pony tail in!


But as 2amsomewhere pointed out, most mothers are putting their children #1. Period. The husbands are lucky if they make the list at all. Dr. Berman is simply pointing out that in the long-term it is not in the best interest of the children to be so doting and hovering. The children become brattish, spoiled and imprinted with a massive sense of entitlement that simply does not exist in the real world. It reminds of that Pink Floyd song :


Mother, do you think they’ll drop the bomb? 
Mother, do you think they’ll like this song? 
Mother, do you think they’ll try to break my balls? 
Ooooowaa Mother, should I build a wall? 

Mother, should I run for President? 
Mother, should I trust the government? 
Mother, will they put me in the firing line? 
Ooooowaa Is it just a waste of time? 

Hush, my baby. Baby, don’t you cry. 
Momma’s gonna make all of your nightmares come true. 
Momma’s gonna put all of her fears into you. 
Momma’s gonna keep you right here under her wing. 
She won’t let you fly, but she might let you sing. 
Momma’s gonna keep Baby cozy and warm. 
Oooo Babe. 
Oooo Babe. 
Ooo Babe, of course Momma’s gonna help build a wall. 

Mother, do you think she’s good enough, 
For me? 
Mother, do you think she’s dangerous, 
To me? 
Mother will she tear your little boy apart? 
Ooooowaa Mother, will she break my heart? 

Hush, my baby. Baby, don’t you cry. 
Momma’s gonna check out all your girlfriends for you. 
Momma won’t let anyone dirty get through. 
Momma’s gonna wait up until you get in. 
Momma will always find out where you’ve been. 
Momma’s gonna keep Baby healthy and clean. 
Oooo Babe. 
Oooo Babe. 
Ooo Babe, you’ll always be Baby to me. 

Mother, did it need to be so high?

Ironically, perhaps so much of this hovering is driven by guilt or fear of some sort, but it is misplaced. By building the wall around their children, it ends up harming them. How many of us know parents who are living vicariously through their children? How many of us know parents who are over protective? How many of us know parents who anticipate the needs of their children and are giving to them before they even ask?


By trying to give our children an easier life than we had, we are creating a weaker sort of person. But I’ll follow-up more on that theme later.


I’m lucky to even be able to post, let alone follow-up on comments with work being busy as it is! hopefully I can shed a bit morre light on that next time.




Place Holding: Dr. Laura Berman

January 28, 2007

I wanted to hold on to this post by Dr. Laura Berman for a future post or comment or whatever.  But feel free to have at it. Get a load of the loads of comments SHE gets!  Getting a front page on Yahoo always helps.


Managing Multiple Blogs

January 27, 2007

Flutterby asked how I managed multiple blogs and a number of other folks have commented about me having such a network of places. And these are not sites that simply mirror each other. Yes, sometimes they do but often you’ll find unique content on each one.

Having multiple blogs is not something I’d suggest to most people. It can often be confusing and bothersome as a body tries to juggle multiple audiences, logins, names, storylines and spaces.

The how and why I do it is mostly because my mind is very much compartmentalized. My relationship with my wife intersects with my spirituality but not necessarily in discussing how mine differs from yours. I often get ideas from reading you all, but sometimes those ideas are not germane to what I have going on in my own life story. Plus I occasionally get diarrhea of the keyboard and have several things to say at once. Despite the chaos that is my life, I do try to keep the assorted themes and storylines straight and organized.

I’m not sitting in front of a computer most of the day. In fact I’m all over the place. And a lot of that time is spent waiting. With my PDA, I can conveniently blog whenever I want with a minimum of disruption to my private/professional life. It’s more portable that a notebook, lighter and less disruptive. Once I got the hang of the thumb pad, I was off and running.

Mentally, I do have a map of what goes where as far as content. The R&R Blogger site is the darling of the biggest share of my readers because it has been around the longest and has the complete archives and it’s where everyone links to. So this is the “mainstream” blog where popular content goes to keep readers generally informed of my storylines. R&R WordPress actually gets more content and I’m trying to steer more people in that direction. I’m not forcing anyone to change their links if they don’t want, and you can still keep up for the time being. I get that it is more convenient for you Blogger bloggers to comment in a like-minded site. Having a blogger account enables me to comment to most of you!

But R&R WordPress is where the edgiest stuff is going. It gets updated sooner, more often and with more gritty content. Notice how much longer that blogroll is in WordPress? It’s just oodles easier to manage. And if I wanted, I could categorize the blogroll same as my posts.

Unsolicited Advice was always intended to support R&R through expanding the general knowledge base. Whether from academia, literature, periodicals, other blogs and websites, this was supposed to be more cerebral content. It was also intended to be very generic and not tied very closely to me or my story. At various times, I’ve used R&R and UA in tandem to explore and extend various topics. R&R would be where I would talk about whatever issue I might be facing personally while UA would be a much more detached treatment of the same subject. I suppose one could say R&R was my heart and UA was my head.

UA WordPress was a marked departure. I originally started it out of frustration with Blogger, which continues to be a bothersome mess. However, it has been a place where I could give extended treatment to various subjects. Running a series takes energy and space, and it’s nice not having to clutter up a space with stuff that may not be related. So having multiple blogs has enabled me to be slightly kinder to my readers.

If you’re trying to run multiple blogs, I think it’s important to have a clear vision for each one. If you’re running two blogs together off the same profile, it’s okay if they overlap and support each other. Go ahead and swap links back and forth. I do that all the time. That would be a tandem model of multiple blogging. Your stuff is in the same closet but is on different shelves. You could use these blogs to support one another by supporting 2 or more related discussions at the same time. Again, this is a bit of a juggling act.

If you want totally separate blogs and keep entirely separate content (and audiences) I recommend having them each parked in different places. WordPress makes this pretty easy, but having another one in Typepad or some other hosting place will help keep things tidy. For instance if you have a family blog read by your parents and another blog devoted to raunchy sex kinks, you might want to keep them separate. Having them hosted by different services will lessen the dangers of one audience stumbling into the wrong blog because you stupidly left a comment under the wrong blog with the wrong identity. With blogger, this is as easy to do as gravity unless you pay close attention and even in WordPress two worlds can collide with frightening ease. You want each universe to be separate and uncontaminated by the other which means different names, different locations, and different identities.

Keeping only one blog can be fraught with its own pitfalls when a less public but more devilish persona intersects with the puritanical one we’d like to present. For instance I’m not a big reader of Mommy Blogs, but when I do get a hankering for a hot momma, I go visit Katie Fleck. Very much the über mom with bunches of kids, projects and activities all the time. Very prim, very proper, intelligent and very irresistibly cute (her sister’s not bad either). When she said something about being an expert shoe polisher, I suggested she might keep various leather items polished as found on I posted the comment and then saw the one right above mine…


Your daughter is blogrolled somewhere between “A Kinky Woman’s Guide to the Universe” and “The Search for the Perfect Ass” on the WordPress blog. Just so you know.


Becoming Introverted

January 22, 2007


While describing my history with Arwyn, it’s not unusual for someone to ask if she ever seemed to like having sex with me.  And the answer to that is yes she did at the very beginning.  2-3x per day every day for a couple of months, in fact.  So on the surface, it looks like she did a total about-face and I would have a difficult time arguing against that. 


However, she’s not the only one who did a dramatic turn around.  Mine might have even been more profound.


The Myers-Briggs temperament scale measures 4 dimensions of personality and temperament resulting in 16 different temperament styles.  The first is the introversion-extraversion dimension.  When I first took this test 16 years ago, I was solidly an extravert.  With 10 questions measuring this dimension, 9 of my answers were on the extraversion side.  I took it again a few years later and I was still the same on that dimension.  To everyone around me, I was super-extraverted.  I met new people and made new friends very easily.  And this was the case when Arwyn came on to the scene.  I was the leader of our adult Sunday school class and the church singles group.  I was kind of out there and I’m sure she found this attractive.  She found something attractive enough that she came out of her introverted self enough to ask me out.   That was a gutsy move I’ve only appreciated more over the years.


The last time I took the test a few weeks ago, I was no longer extraverted.  On 10 questions measuring this dimension, 8 of my answers now fall within the realm of introversion.  I’ve done an almost complete flip.  When, how and why?


The when is about the time Arwyn and I became committed to each other.  Which might help explain why.  Because looking back, I can see that I really and truly have always liked a lot of “alone” time.  However I don’t like being lonely.  For the longest time I was a lonely loner so I stepped up and out and did what was necessary to find and get companionship.  I joined social groups and the “intuitive-thinking” dimensions just sort of propelled me into leadership type positions.  So my temperament in the old days was identical to FTN’s ENTJ/Field Marshal style.  That’s how I looked, at least and it’s how I felt. 


But once Arwyn and I were committed, I no longer felt driven to be out in front.  In fact, other people annoyed me more often than not.  And so my extraversion rapidly powered down.  I still had to work with and around people, but even there I was more on my own and liked working more independently. 


Thinking about it, it must have been terribly bewildering to Arwyn.  Here is this seemingly charismatic, outgoing character who suddenly turns out to be almost an antisocial hermit!  I still end up in the spotlight through teaching adult Sunday school, but I’m not nearly as gregarious as I was when Arwyn and I first met.


So what you’re witnessing is what can happen when two introverts get married.  Or when two people who get married turn out to be introverts.  Introverts, by definition tend to be avoiders.  They are not going to seek confrontation much less conflict.    FTN is going to confront his wife, and Aphron is going to be confronted by Sybil, his wife.  Even within a household with two introverts, I would expect the lesser introvert to confront the other.  Or maybe the one with the most issues.  Who’s to say? 


The major point of this post is to simply put a bit of balance into it by stating that Arwyn wasn’t the only one that changed.  I suppose the argument could convincingly be made that her withdrawal was a response to mine and if I was the first to change, she merely reacted to me not being the person she knew before.

 I don’t have a ready response to that, except to say this is something that has worked in both directions.  We both have watched and allowed things to Cascade downward.




WordPress Exclusive


Last night we actually did have a lengthy conversation about things.  We somehow got on the subject of nasty divorces with her dad and step mom plus Donald and Gina who are all going on two years since filing.  Arwyn basically said she never wanted to have to go through something that messy.  I said I had really never heard of a peaceful divorce and she pointed to her parents who actually did come to some sort of amicable agreement and still talk cordially to this day.


Somehow I managed to broach the subject of possibly living in separate houses.  She instantly asked if I had some other woman on the side, and I told her I didn’t.  I told her that if I did I’d be seeking a divorce not another house.  She actually didn’t react strongly one way or another.  She could see advantages to such an arrangement but she said she hoped there might a chance that we could find a way we each could be happy while still together.  And that is at least a hopeful sign.  Even though she hasn’t made a move towards improving anything this was at least a step in the right direction.



What’s Happening in my little Bloggiverse

January 13, 2007

When a body has so many blogs, sometimes it’s hard to keep track.  And sometimes I’m sure people wonder why I have so many blogs!  Thing is, each one does something just slightly different.  For instance, I’m in the midst of switching to WordPress but realize that change is difficult for some people, especially me!  And Blogger still does a thing or two that I like although that excuse is quickly fading.

Below this post, is a list of my favorite blogging tools.  Major geek thing going on there.  Enjoy at your own peril.

On Unsolicited Advice: WordPress, I have a series running where I’m going over my Top 10 Ways to Identify a LL Person.  There’s more than one commenter who likes to point out how they are the exception thus mucking up my theories!

And finally, on Unsolicited Advice: Blogger, I have a list of questions for FTN’s Wife, Autumn.  There are links there from last year’s questions and a couple of rounds of follow-ups.  She really handled things well last year, so I went just a bit harder this year.  Will she still be able to maintain her poise?  Or will she crack under the strain of the boiler plate?   You’ll just have to stay tuned to find out!


Blogging Tools (GEEK Alert!)

January 13, 2007

FTN recently posted his 10 best most favorite blogging tools and then wondered what others used. Mine is a little different constellation of hardware, software and applications, so I’ll share here:

1. My Sharp Zaurus SL – 5500 PDA: This Linux powered hand held device is the real powerhouse behind my miniature blogiverse. I type on the Blackberry-like thumb keyboard and safe it to either the CF or SD flash cards. I can then use a card reader to load it into my PC.

2. MS Word – It has some nifty features and is faster than Open Office. I’m working on shedding my dependency on this proprietary monster but rely on its grammar and spell check for what little editing I do. It seems rather crazy for FTN and others to be fiddling with notepad when they have Word sitting right there.

3. Mozilla Thunderbird – Many of you have switched to Firefox and you are smart to do so. Those who have not are simply slow and foolish. However, if you still use Microsoft’s virus incubator/vector called Outlook for email, you’re still not being very bright. I’ve been using Thunderbird’s RSS feature to read most of you the same way others use bloglines. I then take your posts, and copy and paste them into Word files, put the on the CF card and then I can read them on my Zaurus.

4. Flash cards, readers and memory sticks: others have extolled the virtues of these nifty little storage media and they are essential for moving posts (mine and yours) back and forth between where they are up/down loaded and where they are read/written.

5. WordPress: This has revolutionized my entire blogging experience. It keeps stats, keeps track of search terms used, who is linking, who is pinging, who is spamming, and basically makes every bit of blog management very painless. It eliminates the need for a lot of other tools that are used by my Blogger friends. And I still get my comments through the email address of my choice.

6. Juno Email: I should probably get a Gmail but years ago I used Juno as my ISP (back when they thought all email should be free) and keep it for blogging purposes. If I ever need to switch to another dial-up, Juno will be the one as it is still relatively inexpensive and one of the few who at least makes an effort to be Linux-friendly.

7. Puppy Linux: This is an operating system that fits on a thumb drive as small as 64 Mb. I also have a few copies burned on CDs. It runs entirely in RAM which means I don’t really need a hard drive at all and I’m able to use a laptop under IT lockdown as a second computer when Arwyn is using our main machine for her pictures and stuff. When Windows craps out, I’m not going to be left high and dry nor am I going to pay $150 U.S. to upgrade to Vista. Puppy is actually very robust for such a small OS with an easy graphical interface. If you have an old P3 sitting around, slap some cheap RAM in and Puppy will turn it into brand new zippy modern machine. Oh, and you can forget about the malware that is the bane of every Windows user’s existence. For Puppy it doesn’t exist. And if some freakish thing did happen to get it, you simply restart the computer. Remember, Puppy exists in RAM! It’s a great tool for blogging and online stuff.

8. Firefox: ( a body just has to surf and this is the tool I use. I can also subscribe using its RSS feed, but Thunderbird is just easier for what I’m doing and how I’m doing it.

9. Blogshares: This isn’t something I look at very often but it is often entertaining. I’m not a player, even though I have 2000 shares of my own blogs reserved just for me. And the blogger version of Reality and Redemption has historically been exceedingly valuable to those who do play. From what I understand, blogshares are valued by the incoming links compared to outgoing links. More incoming links are good, but some incoming links are worth more than others. My outgoing links have always been carefully rationed and managed which has provided very good dividends for those on my blogroll. This is also a good place to visit to find out who else is linking to your blog and who is linking who. I’ve discovered a really cool blog or two through this. However, only Blogger blogs are included in this, so WordPress users don’t get to play.

10. My desktop machine. While I do stuff on the Zaurus and occasionally on the laptop. my desktop is where it all comes together. It’s nothing fancy, just an Intel Celeron D with 512 RAM and 1.8 G processor and I’m still using dial-up and XP as the main OS. But that’s where I do most commenting from (all commenting for Blogger writers) and where I read most comments.

I had a hard time coming up with 10 items for this list! These are all tools and gadgets. Yes, it also takes time, energy, patience and a big drive to want to push material out. And somehow I’ve managed to push out sufficient material to keep 4 blogs afloat.

Nice change of pace even if it is super geeky.


That’s Me — Mr. McDreamy

January 9, 2007


The other day, I was driving home and listening to talk radio which is my usual fare. Sean Hannity is the one usually on when I drive home. It’s not that I’m particularly fond of him, it’s just that the other talk radio station craps out after dark, and the Christian stations are still into their music format until later. He and his female producer (or assistant of some sort) were talking about the Woman’s Day poll. He was appalled that his assistant admitted to being a compulsive flirt. “Does your husband know about this? Is he okay with this? I don’t believe it! You flirt with strange men? All the time?”


Regular listeners will know that debating anything with Hannity is next to impossible because he rarely gives the other person time to breathe let alone respond. I got home in the midst of this little discussion and it sounded slightly interesting. According to the reported results, over half of the women who responded to the survey said they either wouldn’t get married to the same guy again or were not sure. Actually, if you look at the poll, you’ll see that it was a pretty even split, statistically between those who said “yes” and “no”. the “not sure” crowd was thrown with the “no” crowd to give the story some legs. I one puts them with the “yes crowd, you have ¾ that say they’d at least consider doing it again. That’s not too shabby, really.


This story, for me, should have ended right there with me turning off the radio and getting out of the truck and going in the house. But it didn’t. This story had legs all right, and it was splashing and running. Later that night, Arwyn was watching TV and I happened to be with her when Access Hollywood ran with it. I’m surprised Arwyn watched the story, especially with me right there. This would be a prime time to ask her if she’d do it all over again but let’s be perfectly real and honest; we both knew the answer. Neither of us would marry the other again, knowing what we do now. That doesn’t make it all bad. It’s a lot like college, basic training or high school. They were tremendously important times, and sometimes very enjoyable. But that doesn’t mean you’d make the exact same decision again or that you want to do it again.


dempsyWe actually did have a short conversation about the poll, though. It had to do with the question about who the sexiest man in America is. Since show was all over ABC, there was considerable discussion about “Mr. McDreamy” from Grey’s Anatomy. I actually had to look it up to see that it was Patrick Dempsey. I know she watches that show so I asked her about it. She said she wouldn’t consider Mr. McDreamy sexy, at least in his portrayal on the show, because he sleeps with everyone and is a compulsive cheater. I’ve seen the show a time or two myself and I never thought he was all that bad.


I tried to think of a way to steer this little conversation around but could see no way to do it without it resulting in a big hurtful blow-up. Mainly, what is a guy who is not getting sex from his wife expected to do when she is no longer interested? He’s just supposed to continue living in a state of involuntary celibacy? I mean a guy like that is probably tempted all the time.


There just wasn’t any traction to this whole line of conversation, so I dropped it. I’m not really looking to cheat and I don’t look like Mr. McDreamy so I’m not constantly being tempted by women throwing themselves at me. As nice as that would seem, it’s through the grace of God that I’m spared that sort of thing. That, plus my rather prickly, withdrawn and introverted personality. People talk about being antisocial as if it were a bad thing!


FTN (Who does happen to look like Mr. McDreamy) also caught the bit about the story saying a third of people sleeping at opposite ends of the bed while the poll definitely says opposite side of the bed. Yeah, for a minute there I thought my Freak Show Franchise For Sleeping was in serious jeopardy! There is no way 1/3 of all women sleep at opposite ends of the bed like Arwyn does. In fact, no one else has come forward to confess that they do this.


Someone asked why I don’t simply switch up, so we are at the same end, again. Then Arwyn would simply adjourn to the couch which she does sometimes, anyway. So my snoring is a pretty big part of it. I thought maybe stopping smoking might lessen that, but apparently not. I might as well puff away. I have absolutely no problems with Arwyn’s snoring. And she can be loud sometimes. But I like it. I’m twisted that way in that I like hearing the sounds of her breathing, snoring and assorted other noises. I derive comfort from it. This is clearly not the case for her as well as many other women who opt for alternate sleeping arrangements.


Someone else mentioned sleep apnea, which can be life threatening. At the very least, it is annoying. At least I notice that I haven’t woken up with a headache like I used to, so maybe not smoking has been helpful enough that way. If I’m going to die from anything at any time, I would just as soon go in my sleep. Seriously, none of us gets to pick exactly how we’re going to go, but dying in my sleep gets my vote every time. I suppose dying while having an orgasm (with a partner )would be a good way to go, but those odds are far too long to even think about in this house. No, sleep gets my vote if I’m allowed one. And then I can dream about what it might be like to be referred to as “Mr. McDreamy.”