Archive for September, 2006
Romantic comedies are very difficult to make. You need good chemistry between the actors, a good balance with the realistic and fantasy elements of the story and the ability to walk the fine line of not having things becoming too cheesy like Youâ€™ve Got Mail. However these elements come together in the wonderful film The Lake House.
The Lake House is about a young doctor (Sandra Bullock) who leaves a letter in the mailbox for the next tenant of the lake house she’s been renting. However, the letter is found by the owner of the home, a frustrated architect (Keanu Reeves) two years before she actually moved in. The two characters begin corresponding with each other though Bullockâ€™s character lives in 2006 while Reeveâ€™s character lives in 2004. Soon they realize that somehow their letters are traveling through time and slowly a relationship between the two develops.
The Lake House is enjoyable to watch because you actually get to see the romantic relationship between the characters develop. Instead of hoping into bed with each other soon after they meet, the characters are forced to cultivate a real relationship and feelings for each other. And unlike many romantic comedies (Sleepless in Seattle) you actually want the characters to meet. The few times Reeves and Bullock are on the screen together, it works. Both actors deliver a solid, real performance and make not only their characters seem real but they come across as normal people that we can relate to.
The film isnâ€™t perfect. Some of the subplots donâ€™t really work out like the one with Reeves and his father (played brilliantly by Christopher Plummer). And donâ€™t think too hard about some of the space-time logic in the film because it doesnâ€™t always make sense. (How could Bullockâ€™s character forget about the man she kissed at the party? What about them having the same dog? And if events in the past could affect the future then howâ€¦well, never mind. Watch the movie and youâ€™ll understand.)
But romantic comedies donâ€™t always have to make sense. What makes The Lake House compelling is that we care enough about the two characters that we want things to work out between them and that makes it easy to put the illogical elements of this film aside.
*** 1/2 Stars (out of 4)
September 29th, 2006
The other day Marathon Girl and I were discussing and article that appeared in Slate about how the popularity of marathons has ruined them. According to the author:
Today, the great majority of marathon runners set out simply to finish. That sets the bar so low that everyone comes out a winner. Big-city marathons these days feel more like circuses than races, with runners of variable skill levelsâ€”some outfitted in wacky costumesâ€”crawling toward the finish lineâ€¦.When a newbie marathoner crosses the finish line, he’s less likely to check his time than to shout, “Only 33 more things to do before I die!â€
In many ways, the slow marathon is the perfect event for the American athletic sensibility. Just finishing a marathon is akin to joining a gym and then putzing around on the stationary bike. We feel good about creating the appearance of accomplishment, yet aren’t willing to sacrifice for true gains. It’s clear now that anyone can finish a marathon. Maybe it’s time we raise our standards to see who can run one.
Though I donâ€™t agree the popularity of marathons is a bad thing or necessarily ruined them, I do agree that there are a lot of people that basically walk the 26.2 miles instead of running them because they donâ€™t put the proper time and effort into training for them.
Preparing for a marathon is time consuming and hard work. Marathon Girl puts a lot of effort into training and preparing for races. (Official tally: Marathon Girl has run eight marathons and won two.) One of Marathon Girlâ€™s biggest pet peeves is going to marathons and meeting other â€œrunnersâ€ who claim to have â€œrunâ€ multiple marathons only to find out all their marathon times are well over five hours.
That being said, Marathon Girl does think that your goal should be to finish your first marathon. No matter how hard youâ€™ve trained, nothing can really prepare you for the grueling task of running (not walking) 26.2 miles. (Iâ€™ll testify to that.)
The article did, however, make Marathon Girl excited for 2007. She has several marathons sheâ€™d like to run (one marathon weâ€™re planning on running together) and Iâ€™m looking forward to seeing her put all of her energy into it. And if all goes well, the Boston Marathon will be on Marathon Girlâ€™s calendar in 2008.
September 28th, 2006
Congratulations to the Detroit Tigers who, despite their recent troubles winning games, clinched a playoff birth Sunday. I should really cherish this moment because it may never happen again in my lifetime.
As of this writing the Tigers hold a one game lead over the red hot Minnesota Twins. Hopefully a strong finish can keep them on top.
September 26th, 2006
In early August the Tigers had the best record in baseball and a 10 game lead over the second place team in their division. Since that time theyâ€™ve looked like the Tigers Iâ€™ve known for the last 13 years. Theyâ€™ve lost roughly two-thirds of their games and have a mere half game lead over the Twins. Itâ€™s getting harder to wear my Tiger hat in public.
Steven has no problem falling asleep in my arms. It doesnâ€™t matter how fussy or upset he is, thereâ€™s something about me holding him he finds comforting enough to fall asleep quickly. For some reason, Iâ€™m the only person who heâ€™ll let rock him to sleep.
This September is unusually cold. Itâ€™s rained for three straight days and this morning there were snow flurries on my way to work. Iâ€™m crossing my fingers the weather returns to normal. Winter is my least favorite season.
Marathon Girl was feeling sick the other day so after I came home from work, I took the boys on a run with me. Pushing the double-wide, I managed to clock eight minutes a mile which is only slightly slower to my average pace when I run alone. I really need to push myself harder in the mornings.
Marathon Girl is convinced our running together as a couple has sparked a neighborhood trend. Whereas you never saw couples running together when we first moved here, you see that all the time now â€“ many have even bought running strollers so they can take their kids with them.
Aidan sure knows how to get on my good side. The other day he came up to me, squeezed my arm and said, â€œBig muscles, Daddy!â€
Aidan had his cast removed on Wednesday. He sure seems happier now that he can use both arms.
The little girl growing inside Marathon Girl is way more active than Aidan or Steven.
Yes, we have a name picked out for her but arenâ€™t sharing it until after sheâ€™s born.
Doing a one hour radio show five days a week is both exhilarating and exhausting.
Writing is also exhilarating and exhausting.
I have some great news about my book but canâ€™t make any official announcements right now. Stay tuned.
September 22nd, 2006
Iâ€™ve been teaching Aidan how to play chess. We havenâ€™t progressed very far. Aidan knows the names of most of the pieces but our games consist of simply putting the pieces on the board in some random order and rescuing pawns and knights from Stevenâ€™s mouth.
We play with a set from the former Soviet Union. The set was a going away present from an artist friend back when I lived in Bulgaria. The pieces and board are old, scratched from years of use and thousands of games but has been used only a handful of times in the last 10 years. Years ago I was quite good at chess but itâ€™s been a long time since I played seriously.
Aidan seems to like the game. Every evening he asks if we can play and I pull the set from the top shelf of the closet and have him tell me the names of the pieces as we put them on the board. I enjoy playing with him. Maybe his interest will continue. Then I can teach him how the pieces move and some basic strategies. Until then I look forward to sitting on the floor of the playroom, the evening sun filling the room with light, and having Aidan tell me the names of pieces as he moves them randomly across the board.
September 20th, 2006
Life is about change. People change for better or worse. Jobs come and go. Eighty degree temperatures and clear skies can be replaced the next day by cold and rain.
A change this weekend has left me feeling a little blue. Yesterday was the last day teaching Sunday school to the teenagers at church. Next week Iâ€™ll be involved in a more recordkeeping/administrative part of the church.
Teaching thoseÂ teens has been the highlight of my Sundays for the last two years. Iâ€™ve enjoyed preparing lessons and teaching them for an hour each week. Iâ€™ve been blessed to have good, smart kids who make teaching not only fun a great learning experience as well.
Change is an inevitable part of life but itâ€™s how we deal with changes thatâ€™s important. This new opportunity will give me the chance to use some existing skills that I have and learn some new ones as well.
Next Sunday will be the start of a new adventure. Iâ€™m looking forward to it.
September 18th, 2006
Yesterday Marathon Girl and I took a rare day off working on all the house projects we need to get done before the baby arrives. Instead we relaxed, played with the boys and watch a little television after they were in bed. I took the following picture of Aidan while we were playing in their bedroom.
September 14th, 2006
Over the last month I’ve received a dozen emails from women dating widowers that could have been carbon copies of each other. Their stories go something like this: I fell in love with a widower and things were going great until out of the blue he ended the relationship. When I talk to the widower about why he ended it, he told me the only reason he started seeing me was because he was lonely and/or missed having a sex life. He says this is something he normally wouldn’t do but the loss of his wife has forced him to make poor choices.
These emails are always difficult to read not only because they’re heartbreaking but because such situations can, for the most part, be avoided with a little understanding some of the physical intimacy issues that come with having a relationship with a widower. Though I’ve briefly mentioned some issues in my previous essays, I’ve decided to devote an entire column to this subject seeing how this is the biggest issue of late that comes through my inbox.
When it comes to physical intimacy, widowers find themselves in a tough spot. For years we’ve had a great sex life with a woman that we love. For most of us this was unexpectedly taken away from us and now we find ourselves missing not only the woman that has been part of our life for years but having regular, intimate moments with someone we love.
Our desire for physical intimacy is a big reason most of us get back into the dating game. Once there, however, we find it difficult to balance our need for intimacy with the ability to form a committed relationship. Forming a strong relationship with another woman is difficult and it’s easy for us to fall into the trap of telling someone that we love them and want to be with them simply because they fill a hole in our heart and meet our physical needs.
I rushed into my first serious relationship after my first wife’s death too quickly. There were a lot of relationship red flags I overlooked because I enjoyed the company. If I would have taken things slower and thought a little more about what I was doing and why I was doing it, I would have realized the main reason for having this relationship was because I missed having someone to talk with and someone to hold and to kiss. Fortunately for both of us, we never become physically involved with each other.
Though the death of our spouses is tragic, it should not serve as excuse for us widowers to use a woman to simply satisfy the physical intimacy that we miss from our marriage. If widowers want regular sex but don’t want a committed relationship, hire a prostitute. We should not be wasting the time and emotions of a woman who’s looking for a committed relationship when we aren’t ready for one. Yes, it is tough trying to figure out how we really feel about becoming seriously involved with someone else but we always have a choice how far we want to take the relationship. If widowers feel confused about the feelings they’re having toward another woman, be cautious and take things slow. Doing this will save a lot of heartache not only for us but for the woman we are dating.
Most women tend to view sex differently then men. For them sex loses a lot of its power and meaning outside a loving, committed relationship. Though women understand that becoming involved with a widower is going to involve issues that people wouldn’t have to deal with in a normal relationship, many of women see our first marriage as a sign of being able to have a committed relationship with a woman.
Women who are dating widowers and want to lower their chances for a broken heart should think long and hard about when they want to become intimate with a widower. There will be a lot going through the widower’s mind — especially if you’re the first person he’s become physically and emotionally intimate with since his wife passed away. I would recommend taking a long time before you become physically involved with a widower. It’s important to make sure the widower is serious about having a committed relationship with you before you decide to become sexually involved.
If the widower is a good man and serious about having a committed relationship with you, it won’t be a big deal that you want to take the more physical aspects of the relationship slowly or put them on hold for several months. However, if the widower complains where you have drawn the line and says the relationship can’t progress unless you become more physically involved with each other, then consider ending the relationship. A good man (widower or not) will never pressure a woman to take a relationship to a physical or emotional level that she is comfortable with.
After Marathon Girl and I started dating regularly and spending nearly every day with each other after work at her apartment or my house, it took us nearly a month before we had our first kiss. We took things slow because we both understood the physical and emotional issues that losing my first wife brought to the relationship and wanted to make sure we were becoming involved with each other for the right reasons.
Marathon Girl told me very early where she was drawing the line when it came to the physical aspect of our relationship. I respected her decision because I would have done just about anything to contribute to the relationships success. It wasn’t always easy because Marathon Girl is extremely good looking and the more in love I became with her the closer I wanted to become to her physically. However, I respected the line that she drew and when the time came when we were both ready to become more intimately involved with each other, there were no regrets about our wait and both of us knew it was in the confines of a loving, committed relationship.
To save a lot of heartache and hurt feelings for widowers and those who are dating them, take things slow. Make sure you’re both ready to take this step. Widowers comes with a unique set of challenges but it can also be very rewarding if the time is taken to make sure both partners are excising the caution needed to make sure the relationship is being built on a strong, secure foundation.
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More widower-related articles by Abel Keogh
Up with Grief NEW!
Dating and Marriage: One Regret NEW!
Widowers: They’re Still Men! NEW!
10 Dating Tips for Widows and Widowers
Photos of the Dead Wife
5 Signs a Widower is Serious About Your Relationship
How Vice President Joe Biden Dealt with Grief
Life with a Widower
Dating a Widower
The Grief Industry
A Letter to Elizabeth
Sex and Intimacy with Widowers
The Widowerhood Excuse
How to Talk to a Widower
Red Flags to Watch for When Dating A Widower
September 11th, 2006
It was an honor to attend your wedding yesterday. The two of you looked incredibly happy. When I first met the girl you married many years ago, I hoped you would keep her around because she seemed so perfect for you. I wish the two of you the best as you start your lives together as husband and wife.
September 10th, 2006
Interesting article in the Daily Mail yesterday titled â€œThe Cure of the 9/11 Widowsâ€ which details on how the lives of 9/11 widows lives has changed since their husbandsâ€™ deaths. Instead of focusing on the widows trying to rebuild their lives without their husbands, it focuses on how the payout received from the government changed their lives for the worse.
No one could have known that for many of them, the money would destroy their lives once again, attracting jealousy, resentful relatives and making them even more depressed. Some would become squandering, spendaholic widows, their payouts fuelling addictions which could not replace the husbands they had lost. Others would become embroiled in legal battles with their families, their lives eaten up by bitterness.
The sad part is that many of the widows seem to be using their widowhood as an excuse for their spending habits or bad decisions theyâ€™ve made. Losing a spouse under any circumstances is difficult but no excuse for poor behavior. (I have an article that addresses widowhood and responsibility that Iâ€™m currently writing. Should be posted in the next 72 hours.)
The true tragedy here is that Congress thought paying off the widows would somehow compensate for the loss of their spouse. Instead, like most lottery winners, money just made their lives even more miserable.
The MasterCard commercials are right. There are some things money canâ€™t buy. Apparently happiness is one of them.
September 6th, 2006
For years I’ve been using this photograph on my website, instant message icons, and other web stuff.
Due to forces beyond my control I’ve been forced (well, not really) to post actual photographs of me and my radio co-host on The Abel Hour website. So if you want to see what I really look like, click here. (And you’ll see why I’m on the radio, not television.) There might be one or two more photos of me as well if you browse the site long enough.
Here’s a preview…..
September 5th, 2006