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Why I Am [Still] Catholic — or perhaps you would disagree. Either way.

There’s a big book I want to read, but as with that grocery store, I’m a little scared to read it. (I’m such a chicken!) I can’t really put my finger on what makes me nervous about it, exactly, but I think it’s important that before reading the book, I at least make an attempt at finding my own answer.

The book is Why I Am A Catholic by Gary Wills.

And today I’d like to talk about why am Catholic. Or at least my very best, super non-eloquent, attempt at explaining why. Because Joan suggests that it might be time.

“Keep traveling, Sister! Keep traveling! The road is far from finished!” –Nelle Morton

Unrelated side note: sisters are the best, best, best!

“Indeed we are not finished. The struggle for women is only just begun actually. But I have come to the conclusion that social change does not happen in a straight line. It’s run and coast, run and coast all the way. This is another deceleration period, perhaps. Everything has quieted, slowed for a while, no big demonstrations, no great amount of organizing. But it is precisely now that we must not stop or we will stand to lose our hearts along the way.” –Joan Chittister

Whether you agree or disagree with me, in my own personal world where the opinions are 100% and entirely my own, my struggle with my faith has often been reflected in, as Joan calls it, “the struggle for women.” Where the word “women” can be replaced with any truly marginalized segment of the population.

I am what many would call a “cradle Catholic” — I was born into the faith. My parents met as catechism teachers, for pete’s sake! (And their first date was to see the Star Trek movie and they’re so cute/gross (they are  my parents, it has to be a little gross to me) and so happy even after like a million years and three wack job kids and a bad, bad dog– I love their story!)

Anyway, I was born to Catholic parents. Baptized in the Catholic church. Attended CCD once a week during elementary school, went to mass on Sundays, made my basic sacraments, and wore the pretty dresses when required (Easter, Christmas, but none more beautiful than my first communion dress– handmade by my mom, eyelet lace, and I loooooved it).

I even went to youth group off and on as an awkward teen. And oh snap was I ever awkward. It’s hard not to cringe when I even think about youth group… (I had such a crush on this handsome young man (that’s the old lady way of saying “total hottie!”) named Andrew who had gone to my school before leaving for a private Catholic school. I screwed up the courage to ask him to Homecoming my senior year. He initially said yes and I freaking flipped until he reversed his decision on account of “Saturday night hockey practice” (riiiight… i.e. I can’t go to Homecoming with a nerd at my old school! I’ll never hear the end of it) and I was very understanding (to him) and mortified (in private) and all that. Oh, so so so cringe-worthy! Although, date or no, in retrospect, I looked HOT at that Homecoming dance, so whatevs. Also, good on me for having the courage to ask!!)

[[[Dang it! I was sure I had a picture somewhere around here from that dance– lots of other dances, Homecoming, Coming Home, Prom, etc… but not that particular one. I looked good though, I promise. And even if I didn’t, I was awesome! His loss!]]]

I even went to church on my own in college. I walked up the hill from Wadsworth Hall to St. Al’s in Houghton and sang my little heart out whenever I could get out of bed in time to make it (because think what you like, I love traditional Catholic hymns– I just do). A lot of my friends were Catholic too, so it was always a social experience, and when I started dating Seth my sophomore year we had that in common. It’s always just been a thing. Albeit, a rote thing, because this-is-the-way-it’s-always-been thing. Not much in the way of thought at any point. Although, I should point out that I was not confirmed in the church along with my peers… because I didn’t really see the need, and neither did my parents who were going through their own thoughtful faith period. While it has caused me some problems along the way (marriage prep– oy), I do not regret it. It would have just been another meaningless hoop to jump through on what was already a very rote path. I have since toyed with the idea of going through the RCIA process to become confirmed as an adult and I am grateful for that because over and over again it has made me examine the central teachings of my Catholic faith with a more discerning, thoughtful, and critical eye than I would have possessed at any point earlier in my life and that has made all of the difference.

The next natural place to go as I’m writing this is, I’m sure, toward a theological discussion of what I agree with, what I disagree with, and so on. But instead, let’s just say that my concerns center largely around the way certain groups of people are treated– women, LGBTQ individuals, divorced/remarried couples, the homeless, etc. (Sigh for Catholics in San Francisco at the moment, yes? Seems as though they’ve been in the media recently for every last one of these things.) It bothers me because I feel confident that Jesus loved everyone and that as followers of Jesus (i.e. Christians) we are also called to love everyone, always, no matter what, and with no questions asked. Even when it’s hard. Lepers and prostitutes, tax collectors and pharisees. Everyone is welcome. And we even sing that, in church, some Sundays– allll are welcome, allll are welcome, alllll are welcome in this place. I really, really believe that.

So the question then becomes: why stay? Why do I still consider myself a Catholic?

Reasonable question, and one I have honestly and whole-heartedly asked myself. For a few months a year or so ago I found myself bouncing around from church to church to church. I tried them all locally, and even not so locally (driving long distances on Sunday morning was not something I particularly enjoyed, but I tried it, to be thorough). I liked the service at the Episcopalian church in town (the minister even referenced Joan Chittister in her homily! sermon, maybe?), but ultimately, even that just didn’t fit quite right. It wasn’t comfortable. It wasn’t home.

In the end, I still attend Catholic mass on Sunday with my husband. I get quite a bit out of it, but sometimes it definitely makes me a bit rage-y. Mostly only when the homily gets political– even subtle politicization is enough to boil my blood. But I can listen respectfully and dissent in the car on the way home. I can do it. And I can work to change those things from elsewhere. To make my church more just. To make my spiritual home a place that I am proud of. Hence, my involvement in Call To Action.

In the end, I relate it back to politics after all. I may not always like my political leaders and the policies put forth in the US, but I’m not going to move to Canada over it. I’m sure there’d be something there I would disagree with too. And ultimately, Canada, lovely as it may be, is not my home… not the place I feel like I belong. (Granted, I have not tried living in Canada, so that’s not a super fair statement, but I’m sure you get my drift.)

When I think about this concept of your church or faith or lack thereof as a home or place of comfort, I think that my husband’s family really demonstrates how true that is. My father-in-law is Catholic and my mother-in-law is Lutheran. Neither converted or changed anything when they got married. My MIL continues to attend her Lutheran church and my two sisters-in-law have always gone with her. My FIL continues to attend his Catholic church and my husband has always gone with him. All three kids are amazing people– morally upstanding, grounded in their faith, kind, beautiful and compassionate and spiritual people. Two were raised Lutheran, one was raised Catholic, all three came from a household that values family and love and respect and hard work. The two raised Lutheran have chosen to remain Lutheran, likewise for the Catholic, and while I haven’t actually asked them why exactly, I imagine that the concept of familiarity and home would come to mind eventually if I did. Probably the same would be true for their parents– they still got married and spent the rest of their lives (to date… can’t predict the future, of course, but their also pretty cute/gross) loving, respecting, and raising a family with one another. And I think that’s what we’ll all do as we grow up– what our parents did. Seth and I will (fingers crossed!!!) have children someday and raise our kids in the Catholic church, but we’ll also raise our kids according to our own moral values and our kids will be shown that all people are welcome, no matter what, no questions asked, because that’s what we think Jesus would do. And more to the point, what we think is right. Should someday they decide to move on to a faith or religion or spiritual practice (or, again, lack thereof) in which they feel more comfortable, more at home, that’s totally cool. For me, it just so happens that that place of spiritual comfort is Catholicism.

Progressive Catholicism, anyway. Catholicism with a twist.

And that is my best answer to that question posed by Gary Wills. A long time in the making, but most brilliant works take a minute, eh? 😉

I think I am ready to read that book now. To see what Gary has to say. (True story: I almost wrote Mr. Wills right there, but then stopped myself– I never write Ms. Chittister, or even Sister Chittister… I always call her Joan, like she’s my own personal friend and never with the respect of the title she’s probably owed. Yet, interestingly, I have actually seen Gary Wills speak in person, closer to a friend therefore than Joan is, and still I initially went for the mister. Glad I can catch myself in these super anti-equality moments. Wonder how many more I don’t catch?).

As you can see, I certainly can’t defend my Faith with any kind of theological argument, but my faith, with the little f, which is the one that I practice rather than the one I necessarily subscribe to or attend, isn’t based on theology really at all. It’s based on a feeling and an ideal of goodness and rightness that really isn’t something that can be argued one way another because it’s 100% personal. So I consider myself Catholic, whether or not I’m a good one according to the hierarchical Church. (And I doubt very much that I am.) But I don’t do it for them, I do it for me and for God. And no one can come between God and my conscience. (That’s a direct quote from a Catholic priest, btw. Must be true!)

I’d be really very curious to hear about the experiences of others– not the doctrinal/theological reason for belonging to one group or another or not at all, but rather, the personal history- and feelings-based reasons. I can’t be the only one, can I? Tell me about you!




PS: Talking about that youth group-based Homecoming rejection, and even more so, joking about it– HUGE deal for me! Turns out, it legitimately no longer hurts. And I’m grateful for the story. I wonder when that happened? (But was he ever dreamy to my 16 year old self…) FREEDOM!!

{Source} Kind of what it feels like 🙂

S is for my Seth.

Tonight after work, I was in the kitchen canning some pickles (that’s a brag) and Seth was working on hanging up a brand new spice rack for me inside one of the kitchen cabinets. It seemed to fit, but it shouldn’t have– according to his measurements. He couldn’t figure it out. So I said, “Perhaps we’re not really muggles after all!”

He didn’t even bat an eye.

True, Seth vetoed the idea of having boy-girl twins and naming them Luna and Ron… but he doesn’t really seem to mind the Harry Potter stuff too much otherwise. And doesn’t even question me when I use references in every day conversation. (Conversations or tasks. I’m not going to lie, sometimes I try to use spells.)

Clearly, Seth is my soulmate.


Today, August 6th, is Seth and my third marriage anniversary. I can’t even tell you how excited I was when I realized that both August 6th and the letter S were approaching– perfection! So this post and the letter S are dedicated to my darling Sethy Stankowski (see how I just outsmarted The Google right there? I hope so anyway… he probably has more impressive credentials out there on the interwebs than a gushy blog post).

Seth and I met at RA training at Michigan Tech in the summer of 2002. I was immediately smitten with him, despite the Kermit and Piggy-ness of it all…

We were babies... babies at a Packer game <3
We were babies… babies at a Packer game <3

I was 18, Seth was 21, and here we are, nearly 12 years later, celebrating our third marriage anniversary. Our life isn’t the life I had planned for myself before I ever met Seth, but I can tell you with absolute certainty that I wouldn’t want it any other way. I love that Seth and I share so much of our life stories. At this point, we’ve practically grown up together… we’re completely different people than we were when we first met, but still just right for each other. We’re balanced. We’re ridiculous. We’re very, very good <3


In 2002, before things were actually serious, everything seemed so overly serious. Thanksgiving break of that year (it’s a whole week long at Michigan Tech to account for the long drives and unavoidable bad weather) was basically traumatic. I’m embarrassed to admit it now, but I definitely cried through most of the UP on my way home and getting back to Seth was all that mattered. These days, when things actually are serious (as in we’re married and own a house and have real jobs and a pup to take care of), a week apart can be nice sometimes… for both of us. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and all of that. We both travel for work on occasion, Seth more frequently than me, and as exhausting as traveling for work can be, it never feels quite so bad. (Except when Seth is in Miami in January and I’m busy bundling up and shoveling snow in Wisconsin. Then it feels quite bad.) You know the song Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros? Well, I only knew it by the lyrics until 30 seconds ago and I had to Google it to tell you about it… anyway, that line:

Home! Let me go home! Home is wherever I’m with you!

Seth makes me really get that. He is my home. Oh look… they make printables. Going to need one of those.


Despite being together for such a long time, I still have no problem gushing about Seth. And I do mean gushing. I love him so fiercely, so completely, and in such a way that even his little weirdnesses are adorable to me– the socks between the toes, the general dislike for pants, the obsession with all modes of mechanical flight (e.g. helicopters, airplanes, the cars that will someday fly).

But the weirdnesses aren’t what’s really up. Seth is hard working, crazy intelligent, sharply funny, extremely kind and generous, and humble to a fault (except when it comes to being better than me, and to be perfectly honest, that’s a good thing for my big head).


I was kind of stuck about what exactly to say next. What to tell you about the amazing man I married. I thought about telling you about how he helps all of our elderly neighbors with their technology, odd jobs, and shoveling (he’s literally the youngest in our corner of the neighborhood by 50 – 60 years… lit-er-all-y). Or maybe about how he loves on our pup and it’s just the sweetest and cutest thing in the world. Alternatively, I could wow you with tales of the crazy handiness he’s capable of– I’m so impressed with everything he’s done to our house to make us warmer, safer, more efficient, and extremely tech savvy and future proofed (love that phrase– future proof). But as I was writing this, my Pandora flipped to the Mamas and the Papas singing Dream a Little Dream of Me (it’s my She & Him station– so good). I love this song, every version of it, but given that I was going gaga over Seth at the moment, this line really struck me…

Stars fading, but I linger on dear– still craving your kiss.

And it reminded me of the very, very beginning. Back when we were so new and I was so nervous. Our first real dates, just the two of us, were at night, under the stars.

On our first date, we drove all the way to the Paulding Light an hour and a half from campus– somehow he already knew I was in love with ghosts! I was so nervous about driving so far with such a quiet guy, but he really surprised me. He actually sang in the car! My friends assured me that I didn’t have to lie about it when we got back– they could not believe I was telling the truth. We saw the light that night, it was amazing.

On our second date, we took a trip out to Misery Bay toward Ontonogan and laid on the beach to see the northern lights. They were all around us, swirling and twirling and twinkling, and it was like being in a planetarium, only real. It was amazing. An absolutely amazing night. I’ve seen the northern lights several times, but never like I saw them that night. I loved Seth even then.

A few nights later, we ventured out to Boston Pond just north of Houghton to star gaze… and again, it was amazing. We stood shivering against Seth’s truck and he asked me how long it took me to make each one of my curls every morning. It was the cutest, the sweetest, the most endearing thing he could have said. I have the biggest smile even just thinking of it.

Paulding Light for a haunting, Misery Bay for the northern lights all around us, Boston Pond for a celestial star show… and 12 years later, a cozy home in Marshfield with the person who inhabits half of my heart. Stars fading, still lingering…

Photo Credit: Lindsey Marie Photography
Photo Credit: Lindsey Marie Photography


PS: Being the dedicated Wisconsin-ite that he is, Seth’s pals have (I assume affectionately) dubbed him “Cheesecurd”… in which case, I am clearly a freaking cheese factory because I can’t stop being such a sappy, cheesy, sentimental nerd! But for realsies, I love my husband, and I’m cool with you knowing it– knowing it so hard it makes you roll your eyes, groan, and shake your head at me all at once!

D is for my diggity dog!

Did you know that I have a dog?


This must be the first time we’ve met. Because I do have one. And I love her… so much that I talk about her constantly. Even more than Harry Potter, the Civil War, and dinosaurs combined.

(That’s a lot.)

My dog is a double doodle– her mom was a golden doodle (golden retriever plus poodle), her dad was a labradoodle (labrador retriever plus poodle). So, ultimately, our designer mutt is half poodle, one quarter lab, and one quarter golden. 100% perfection 🙂

Curly 4

We kind of stumbled across the double doodle breed accidentally. My sister has a golden doodle named Grizzly that Seth and I are absolutely in love with, but Seth has always really wanted a lab. A quick Google search after jokingly mentioning a triple mix (and my mom’s serious question– how would they even do that???) revealed that it wasn’t actually a joke at all and we got real serious about finding one of these sweet pups to bring into our home.

The second we put an offer on a house, we applied for a puppy. We were ready!

Curly was born in southern Illinois on August 13, 2012 and came to live with us in October. I was in love with her from the very first picture the breeder sent. Her happy little face was just too much and I just love her more and more and more every day!

Curly 6

I used to think dogs were cool. That it would be nice to have one and that puppies sure were cute.

Now that I have one of my own, though? Dogs… are… everything!

Everything that is good and happy and sweet and fun and loving, and, and, and…

Curly 5

After the cat I grew up with (Callie) passed away, my parents got a dog. It was a total surprise and likely the result of my mom wandering off in a pet store and leaving my dad to his own devices. Oscar just showed up one day, completely out of the blue, and it was an absolute shock… but we were delighted.

(Side note: Oscar was not the name I would have chosen. So I call him Shobsky, because that’s what his name would have been if it had been my choice. But it wasn’t. So technically it’s Oscar, but he responds just as well to Shobsky if I use the right tone of voice.)

Unfortunately, Oscar didn’t come into our family until I was a junior in high school and I was very self-centered at the time and unable to really appreciate the doginess of our dog. I didn’t really get it.

Then we got Curly. And now I super get it.

Curly 3

My Curly girl is everything to me. I absolutely adore her and her sweet face. Everything she does is just so cute to me. She hangs with me when I’m depressed and gets excited with me when I’m happy. She’s such a trooper.

And Curly made me better at being around all dogs. I truly love them all now, even the grumpy old ones like my Oscar. I used to get nervous, I thought licking was super gross, and I was always a little bit uncomfortable. Not anymore!

Now, I can barely restrain myself from petting ALL the dogs. All of them. Every last one. And I thank puppies for licking me– “oh, so sweet! thank you for the kisses!! thank you!” And I’m much more comfortable with my dog than without. With any dog, though. I truly do love them all!

Believe it or not, Curly even made me love my husband MORE. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved him a whole heck of a lot since like 2002, but the way he interacts with my Curls leaves me absolutely enamored… all I can do is smile at those two. It’s like all of my heart is there before my eyes.

Curly and Seth

Life with my sweet, and somewhat troubled, dog has also shown me that I can handle anything– good times and bad, happiness and stress, the calm of uber-sedation and the cray cray of visitors. All of it. I can handle it. Because it’s totally worth it.

So as long as we’re hear, chatting about my Curly girl, how about a little update?

Curly 2

Seth and I took Curls to Madison for a follow-up last Monday. Granted, we’d had two visits to the emergency vet in the interim because the little punk can’t resist chewing on her cast, but those were relatively minor issues. On Monday, they removed the last bits of the fixator and now she’s just got a hard splint from toe to hip. She’s doing well, we’re feeling nervous. Her bone is essentially swiss cheese now that the pins are removed and we’ve lost our security blanket. Our next, and hopefully last, appointment is on June 11th. They anticipate removing everything at that point and we’re hoping to work out just some sort of temporary bracing situation for when she might need a little extra support (on walks, when people come over, when playing in the yard). So far so good and all signs suggest that things are going just about as well as they could possibly be going given the state of her knee when we started. It’s certainly not normal, but we’re on the right track. The best news is that even if this surgery fails completely, she’ll never be worse than she was before she started– in fact probably a little better considering they removed a bone chip that had come off of her patella and a wire that was just floating around in there doing nothing. So… win-win? A little?

Curly 1

My grant! It was ROUND!

Imagine for a moment that the world really had been flat when Columbus decided to sail around it. He’d have literally fallen off the face of the Earth.

His trip took a long time and I can’t imagine that cell service reached that far meaning that contact with home was non-existent. As such, people probably thought that he did fall off the face of the Earth.

Last Thursday, I said yes to a real big grant with a very short timeline.

And as you may have noticed, I sailed my ship right off the face of the Earth.

Or so you thought!

But like the world, my grant was round, and here I am! Back among the living! (Just a little tired…)

Sigh of relief though. That was a doozy! The grant still isn’t technically out the door and I’ve spent most of the day today making minor tweaks and changes and edits and such, but for the most part, it’s ready to go. Monday is the official deadline, and on Monday, “send” shall be clicked. Huzzah!

In the meantime, I had a total It’s a Wonderful Life moment. My house was a MESS! I almost took before and after cleaning pictures last night… but it was simply too horrifying to even be funny. We had crossed the line. (See! I matter! I really do!)

My gmail inbox has 55 unread emails– and that’s after deleting the junk! (Huge apologies if I’ve been ignoring you!)

Insane Inbox

I have an episode of Downton Abbey on the DVR (what that whaaaaat?!).

(It's the Masterpiece Classic one. Permission to judge.)
(It’s the Masterpiece Classic one. Permission to judge.)

My nail polish is flaking off to a pathetic point and I haven’t even had the time to pick at it. (But I love picking at it!!)

Nail Polish

And I haven’t posted on Under the Tapestry in over a week!!!

No Posts

Oy. None of this is ok. Thank goodness for this upcoming weekend!

But there are some reasons why the insane hours and the seriously mentally taxing work (and not just mentally! I hurt my finger on a staple! writing can be physically taxing too!) was completely worth it… there were some silver linings, if you will.

First, I learned A LOT. About A LOT.

Unfamiliar funding mechanism, unfamiliar topic, unfamiliar PI. But not anymore.

I could write another HRSA grant, and I could do it well. (Fingers crossed HRSA thinks it’s written as well as I think it is.) Especially given more time. Because seriously, I could have used more time. A lot more time.

The topic– fascinating!! I have a personal interest in improving access to behavioral health services (because remember, I’ve kind of cra-a-azy) and I think the proposed project offers a really wonderful way to do that in our community. Very easy to get on board. Not as easy to learn the material. But I read and read and read (and googled and googled and googled) and I’ve come out the other side with a much better understanding of the role that different types of health professionals can play in behavioral healthcare as well as how the different pieces of the organization I work for can fit together to make that happen. Fascinating stuff!

And the PI… she was wonderful. Truly a dream to work with. She’s passionate about what she does and really understands how to make care better for patients. And that’s why she does what she does and why I wanted to help her do more of it. She makes all those hours worth it… and will continue to do so as I cash in on some favors I’m owed to help advance some other program grants I’ve been toying around with. (Mr. Burns-style excellent.)

So, yes, I am tired. And my poor husband is starved near to death. But we survived it. And I’d do it again in a heartbeat, even if it meant there was another week where we couldn’t chat.

(That’s not to say I haven’t missed you, because I have! And dearly!)

Anyway, I’ve sailed back to you, little lovelies! Back to Earth, back to normal, back to our regularly scheduled programming. Yay!!

Advent for Thirty: Icky, Scary, Love.

Have you guys seen the movie Crazy, Stupid, Love? Emma Stone, Julianne Moore, and Melissa Tomei opposite Ryan Gossling (of “hey, girl…” Pinterest fame), Steve Carell, and Kevin Bacon. Seriously– what’s. not. to. love?!

(I read something recently that it’s not cool to say “feels” instead of feelings anymore. But I still think it’s funny, so I’m about to use it.  You were warned. And, to be honest, you kind of knew I was prone to use of lame words and phrases. It’s what I do.)

I loved this movie because it made me feel ALL the FEELS! All of them– the good ones and the bad ones, the happy ones and the sad ones, the victorious and the defeated, etc, etc, etc. Surprisingly, deliciously, hilarious and delightful! Highly recommend the watch.

Anyway, all of that just to say: I ripped off the title to title my Advent for Thirty post about l-o-v-e love! As promised! And I (almost) always keep my word!

The nice this about these Advent for Thirty posts is that I made some pretty lofty promises without a very concrete plan… incidentally, it ended up being a better advent that way because I actually had to reflect on all those things I promised. Good deal.

So love. Twuuuuu wuv. Thirty years of it, and lots more to come. And because of that… lots to think about. I have to admit, I’m kind of excited about the palindromic nature of my discovery! Who doesn’t like palindromes?!

Go hang a salami, I’m a lasagna hog! Never forget!

But my palindrome… kind of different.

Icky – Scary – Bliss – Scary – Icky

Of course there was lots and lots of love in my life right from the get go. I was my parents’ first child, which means that they’ll always love me best and in the most special way, but that’s not important to discuss right now. (Don’t worry Ab and Tom, I love you enough to make up for mom and dad’s inability to love you as much as they love me… there there.) But seriously, based on how much we all dote on my sweet and perfect niece Emma, I’m pretty certain that I was a very, very well-loved little girl. So that’s cool. But being pre-conscious memory at that point, I was pretty much unaware. (Lame baby…)

Once I finally did become aware of love, I knew I had it for my family. That was a given. I loved them, they loved me, and we always said it (and still do). We never end a phone conversation, walk out the door, or board a plane without saying we love each other. It’s just a thing we do. The end.

But love of other people? Ummmm… no. It was icky. K-i-s-s-i-n-g in trees and cooties and all of that. Icky.

As I got older, boys became interesting and friends were important. But love? Still scary. When I was in high school, for example, there was a guy from the band (I know, right? Very American Pie… band is like that. Stereotypes happen for a reason…) that I dated every year during football season. Pretty much every September through December, without fail. My freshman year, my sophomore year, and my junior year (then he graduated). I always broke up with him around New Years… it suddenly got too scary. The last time, he told me he loved me. I broke up with him the next day. I just couldn’t. Too much… too much! It was all Forrest Gump-like– “you don’t know what love is!” and I had to run and run and run. Whew. Close call. Scary.

But then I went to college. And in 2002, I met Seth. And that… that was not in the least bit scary. That was bliss. Bliss! That was the butterflies of a first date (you guys, he sang in the car while we drove to Watersmeet to see the Paulding Light– humoring my ghost obsession from day one!). That was watching the Northern Lights flicker and fade over Misery Bay and star gazing at Boston Pond. It was young, it was yooper-style (dang I love the UP!), and it was love… Bliss.

And then, things got kind of scary again. Because I really loved this guy. And slowly I realized: this was the man I was going to marry. This was the person I was going to spend my life with, that I was going to build my family around. His was the heart to which my heart would be tethered always. That’s kind of big. Kind of scary.

And that was in like 2004. So fast forward to 2010, we’d been dating for over 8 years, and the fear hit all over again as I thought that maybe, just maybe, grad school had broken me past the point of repair or redemption and Seth wanted out. That was also scary.

Turns out– Seth just gets weird when he has to keep a secret and he was bursting about the engagement ring he had picked out and worried that I suspected something. He always gives me too much credit… I’m oblivious more often than not. So we got engaged. We got married. We went on a honeymoon.

Because I told you this is a palindrome and you’re good at deducing patterns, I’m sure you know what’s coming back now: ICKY.

As lovely as our honeymoon was, it was also very, very icky. My poor new husband, man of my bliss, man of my fear, man of my heart, was sick. Oh so very, very sick. The kind of explosive sick that leaves you desperate for relief, but not sure which end to leave over the toilet. Highly un-romantic. Extraordinarily icky.

But as icky as it was, my heart was broken and I took care of my poor husband as best I could. (We were so lucky that our villa had a washer/dryer!) In sickness and in health, right? Love, real grown-up not scary love, means in sickness, too. This was sickness.

We’ve been home from our honeymoon for a while. We bought a house, we got ourselves a puppy, and now I have a little fur baby to love as though she were human (because yes, I’m one of those people), and love is still kind of icky. Have you ever seen a dog projectile vomit? It’s something spectacular– and I got to clean it up as Seth retched in the background. There’s no way I was going to clean up his vomit too at that point, one pile (pile, smear, disastrous explosion of sick all over my dog, her e-collar, the floor, the kennel, the wall, the closet door) is quite enough, thankyouverymuch. So I asked him to back away.

(Ok, don’t get me wrong– Seth is totally a trooper about cleaning up after Curls vomits– it’s usually not quite so horrifying as it was that night. Can’t really fault him for that.)

And what of love after 30? I imagine it’ll continue to be icky, scary, and blissful, all in turn. It will be shared with my husband, family, friends, co-workers, and pets. And despite any ick or fear, it will undoubtedly be sweet.


And now you know the truth: I am influenced far too much by movies and TV. I’ve confessed to you before that romantic comedies are my absolute favorite and that I refuse to apologize for it. I’m the girl the big movie execs add a love story for (even in Jurassic Park). Sorry about that if you’re not a fan– it was meeeeeeeee!!!


PS: I’m suddenly second guessing myself… this is not really a palindrome, just symmetry. And yet, I’ve gone too far with the palindrome theme to change it now. I’d rather be wrong than go back and change anything. Forgive me, please.