A Couple That’s Sick Together, Sticks Together

youve-got-mail-flowersMany years ago, while watching Dr. Phil, the doc suggested that you really get to know your partner when you have the flu–and there is that moment in every relationship. This horrified me. I don’t like seeing illness, much less being seen in a deathly ill state. Colds are fine because you get sympathy since you are just healthy enough to drag yourself to work and show off your chafed nose and Lauren Bacall voice. But no way could anyone witness me as a wan and feverish little flower. In the past, when involved, I’d allow my suitor to see me only when I could prop myself up and apply my makeup like Shirley MacLaine in Postcards from the Edge. So basically, being in a serious relationship was out of the question for me.

This all slipped my mind when I married Sam. Dr. Phil was right. We’ve grown closer over Sam’s strep of 2010, bronchitis of 2011 and 2012–which I also caught–and the accidental ingesting of zinc on an empty stomach. There were two incidents of food poisoning, as well as the occasional raging headache (our cure: coffee). Sinus issues flare up seasonally, so my vertigo adventures make for some dizzying memories. I haven’t even covered the psychosomatic illnesses.

We take vitamins, eat well, Purrell as needed and are hyper-conscious of germs, but sometimes, we fall hard to airborne predators.

This past weekend, after almost two years of pristine health, Sam predicted that his sniffles would blossom into the mother of all colds. And he was right. We got the tea, Nyquil, Theraflu, cough drops, Advil, soup, tissues and ginger ale ready. Because Sam didn’t sleep, I didn’t either and when he sneezes, coughs and blows his nose, it’s 10 times louder than it needs to be. As a loving partner, I buy into the real (and exaggerated) suffering–and secretly Purrell myself as he enters the room. Though not a great nurse, I did make the supply run, check on him and keep him company. When he was less toxic, he bought ingredients to make chicken soup from scratch. Life is almost back to normal, and on a good note, I did get through my New Yorkers and Vogue.

So now, the worst is over, but I find myself sniffling. Can a marathon of Frasier and Vicks Vapor huffing be far behind? I’m going to think positively.

Romance and Veterans Day

131111114234-08-veterans-1111-horizontal-galleryIn 1994, I was reviewing books for a romance journal when I discovered Merline Lovelace, who took up romance writing after a long career in the United States Air Force. She’s written historicals, thrillers, contemporary romances, category romances–pretty much every kind of romance you can imagine. Her characters always feel like real people, as if you could bump into them and they’d be like, “Hey.”* Also vivid are her story’s settings. Wanna go to Egypt, the Amazon jungle, the Czech Republic? Not a problem. If you know Merline, you understand her deep love of travel, and in her romances, you get to go places. The best part, for those of us who fear flying, is you don’t actually have to endure the actual hassles of travel because Merline describes her exotic destinations so superbly.

Twenty years later, I found myself reading one of her novellas and feeling that same joy. Just in time for Veterans Day. Thank you to all those who serve our country–and also to those who gladden our hearts with love stories.

*They’d only have time for such small talk after escaping from evil people, hacking their way through the jungle and, after days, finding a raft on which they could make love and return home to live happily ever after.

My Duran Duran Happiness Jar

A couple years ago, I read about Elizabeth Gilbert’s idea to write down one happy part of your day and put it in a jar. I loved the idea so much that I found my ideal vessel and started doing just that. It was fun to remember what I’d done and thephoton mark it down. I admit, this jar has been neglected for most of this year–either too much work, or too many crabby days. It was an up year in that my book came out, a rough one with personal and work issues. Nothing too awful, but nothing to make me go yay (aside from the book)! Perhaps I should have started a gratitude journal: I’m grateful to breathe or I’m grateful that I married a great guy. To me, this seems obvious. I’ll come around someday on that. For now, I like writing little things that made my day on a slip of paper (I use sparkly pen), then putting it in the Duran Duran vessel.

Last night, Halloween, after months of Happiness Jar neglect, I finally put one in: At the end of the day, I realized it was Halloween, a holiday I love, and I’d forgotten because I was working nonstop. I went to take out the trash and this gorgeous, friendly black cat came right to me from my neighbor’s door and introduced herself. We played a little and I felt as if I’d been blessed by a magical creature. I said goodbye to kitty and thanked whoever sent her to me.