How To Stay Married for 41 Years

Giorni Wedding PhotoMY HUSBAND AND I WERE CELEBRATING our 41st wedding anniversary the other day. We were having a meal in a restaurant, and unusually, it was just us and our grown son and daughter. It seemed kind of odd; none of the many other assorted relatives and in-laws were present for once. It was just the four of us together, as it had been when the kids were growing up. After we ordered, our son asked, “So, what did you do to stay married for 41 years?”

We were caught flat-footed and unprepared. My husband, as always, had a snappy comeback, but I just shrugged. How to explain? But I thought it was a good question, one that deserved a good answer. After some rumination, I arrived at what seemed to me to be the answer–for me, anyway–and sent it off to the kids. Our daughter thought it was good enough to share with others, so I am sharing it here:

“The other day in the restaurant, Sean asked how we managed to stay married for 41 years. Of course we were unprepared, and your Dad’s response of “Don’t get divorced” is certainly one approach. But I thought it was a good question, and one that deserved an answer, so I have been thinking about it.

“I think the answer is: Get over yourself.

“I probably don’t have to elaborate, but I will, a little. Marriage requires consciously working at it all of the time–and never more than when there are difficulties. We all go into a romantic relationship with a lot of expectations and fantasies. In the beginning, we think all our expectations and fantasies have been realized. (Nature’s sneaky little way of assuring the DNA gets passed on, I suspect.)

“Eventually, after the fairy dust wears off, we start to realize that the beloved is not, in fact, perfection. In fact, he or she definitely has some flaws that need looking after. And maybe he or she isn’t Prince Charming or Princess Aurora after all.

“It takes some effort to also accept that you yourself are no prince or princess either.

“So then it becomes a question of can you accept your spouse, flaws and all? Because you cannot change another person. You can only change yourself. Either you are willing to accept that other person with their flaws and disappointments, or you are not–it’s your decision. As far as your own weaknesses and imperfections are concerned, you also have to decide if you should and will change them to accommodate the other, or not. Obviously (I hope), it’s a process of mutual accommodation, which involves both spouses abandoning those expectations and fantasies that aren’t helping.

“It’s also important to abandon resentment against the other for not being the person you hoped and wished they were and appreciating who they really are. Resentment will poison a relationship to the point where it can never recover, and after all–is it his/her fault that you made them up?

“I don’t mean that you have to abandon your dreams, just your fantasies about what marriage with this person was going to be like. As they say, it is what it is.

“And pick your battles. Some things are just not worth fighting about. It’s just not all about you.

“As Anne Landers used to say, when troubles arise in a marriage, you have to ask yourself if you are better off with your spouse, or without him/her? It’s a simple, but very important question that can sidestep a lot of kerfuffles and soul-searching.

“And I guess my final word is: it’s important to remember that everything changes. For example, when a couple has a new baby, it’s gonna be very tough. Stress, sleep deprivation, not enough sex (for the guy), and (for the woman) too many demands on her (including sex)–all are a perfect recipe for a failed marriage. But it changes. Newborns grow and start sleeping through the night, and eventually you wean the baby, and get enough sleep to start feeling like yourself again. So it’s important to hang in and keep working at it until things get better–or at least long enough to see whether things will get better or not.

“I hope I didn’t come off as some old crone pontificating about life. I think both of you are doing great and do work hard at your relationships. But you asked.

All my love,



The author of this guest post, K.D. Keenan, is the author of  “The Obsidian Mirror”, an adult urban fantasy based on the rich traditions of the Americas.  K.D. Keenan is a veteran of  Silicon Valley, having worked in high tech public relations for 25+ years, and as a marketing writer for 12+ years. Keenan currently is Outbound Marketing Director for a small startup in the mobile health field. She has been married for 40 years to the same sweet guy and has two grown children and a granddaughter. She cares deeply about the environment, but worked hard making the novel fun instead of preachy.

Beauty Tip: Say ‘No’ to Joan Crawford Eyebrows

Joan CrawfordI’VE JUST FINISHED DOING A BEAUTY MAKEOVER for my friend, Sue and since three quarters of the cosmetics in her makeup bag didn’t make my discerning cut, we happily trot off to the local mega beauty supply store. There’s something about shopping with a girlfriend that just bears the promise of a good laugh.

The large array of foundations at the shop is a tad daunting even for me, a seasoned makeup pro. New brands seem to pop up out of nowhere and after pumping numerous worms of semi dehydrated foundation onto the backs of our hands without finding that perfect match, I have a brainstorm.

“Why don’t I go and get some help, I see a sales lady over yonder” and I zip over to grab her before Sue can say ‘Boo’.

I near the unsuspecting sales gal from behind, “excuse me, miss, could you….” I stop dead in my tracks as she wheels around to face me. Her sister of Spock eyebrows have me speechless. Quickly I glance back at Sue whose eyes have grown to saucer size. She is desperately shaking her head at the sight of those frightful brows. It’s too late to turn back now. Our gal is all ears and eager to provide the now unwanted assistance.

Reluctantly we follow her as she showcases various overly thick foundations, ones that look like she might trowel them on herself. She is wearing a whole lotta pancake. Fruitless in my efforts not to stare I feel just like that Austin Powers when he lays eyes on that character with the giant mole on his face… Moley,moley,moley!!!

Normal EyebrowsJoan Crawford BrowsAfter the longest 60 seconds on earth we courteously dismiss our young painted lady and high tail it to the other end of the store to peruse anything but her department.

Since then I have been fixated with the infestation of fierce, dark eyebrows sweeping the nation. Am I hallucinating? I’m serious, on my way through Macy’s cosmetics to check out a new line of mineral cosmetics, there they are again, the Vulcan sisters…. It seems all the makeup artists in the store have shaved off their natural brows to be retrofitted with the heavy, stenciled on eyebrows of yore.

Why would anyone want to appear perpetually surprised?

The floating heavily-penciled brows fad has me fascinated and wondering.

What if you smudge a brow off accidentally at work and, horrors… have left your stencils at home? Would that then be a monobrow? Perhaps you could accidentally set a new trend. What if, one morning you are hung over and unwittingly stencil a brow on backwards?

The possibilities of beauty blunders are endless.

The more this recycled fashion wears on, the closer eyebrows drift precariously toward to the hairline above.

A bit of beauty advice to all ladies – step away from the stencil. Do not go there, mother nature put your brows exactly where they are for a good reason. Because they match the rest of your face. They are sisters, not twins and they need not even match identically.

It is perfectly fine to pluck and shape a little bit but please, no shaving, no overdrawing. Less is lovely, more is plain fierce.

Joan Crawford is gone, she took her eyebrows with her and that’s that.


HotwireEsmée St James



Note: Images may be subject to copyright

Goodbye Emily – Hello New Favorite Novel

THERE’S NOTHING LIKE curling up with a good book to get your mind back. The problem is I have the hardest time sitting still, much less read anything. No, I don’t mean reading the odd magazine at the hair salon, I’m talking an entire book. Scary commitment, Huh? It is for me.

Then a challenge arrives via email… Michael Murphy, an author, is offering to send me a copy of his latest novel, Goodbye, Emily if I agree to reviewing it. Feeling optimistic I agree and when the book arrives I think, “oh boy, this will take me years to finish. Look at all those pages! What fine mess have I gotten myself into now?”

Reading BookA plethora of excuses to prevent me from reading the book immediately crowd my skull, there is little room left to think. Every time I passed by my night table now there it was, Goodbye, Emily, giving me the guilt trip. More mind clutter. Lately I have even given up the ghost of opening up all those lonely magazines piling up in my living room.

I should open up a doctor’s office.

Things get worse when Michael emails me asking if I’ve read the book. “Uuuuhhh, almost done, I fib.”

Open BookSo I buckle down to read and you know what? I become entranced by this heartwarming novel and I can’t put it down!! Goodbye, Emily teleports me back and forth from the ‘never say never’ of my own wild child youth to today’s equally unstoppable ‘keep on truckin’ attitude.

This novel is prime movie material.

The paradigm shifts that happen in this book are beautifully laid out. The more unwieldly relationships in the novel all do subtle yet powerful shifts that make the impossible possible.

Goodbye EmilyA chain reaction is ignited amongst the characters and a movement is born. It is all set into perfect motion by one man, Sparky, a broken hearted sixty year old widower at the end of the line who is willing to look at things differently. Sparky’s conviction in his ‘saying goodbye to Emily’ mission with friends Buck, a Vietnam vet and Josh (struggling with Altzheimer’s),  is so powerful that others cannot help but follow suit and cheer these three determined boomers on.

Mike, thank you infinitely for sparking up the bookworm in me. I now devour novels voraciously…

HotwireEsmée St James

P.S. I want to be in the movie, okay? I’m serious!


Three baby boomers relive their 1969 trip to Woodstock. One final road trip. One last chance to say Goodbye, Emily.

Note: Images may be subject to copyright

Why Vacations and Internet Don’t Mix

Salt Island IT’S CRAZY HOW HARD IT CAN BE to unplug from the internet for a vacation and even crazier how hard it is to jump back into the stream afterwards. We’re two days into our first Caribbean sailing trip and finally I’ve let go of posting blogs and tweeting. I have no choice, the internet service we paid for plain doesn’t work.

By the time we moor late afternoon of day two I’m feeling horribly guilty for leaving my readers stranded so I commandeer the dinghy over to a promising beach bar in search of Happy Hour. Perhaps this will ease my internet DTs… Two rum soaked Pain Killers later (I highly recommend this local concoction) I am feeling jusht coconutty and the evil guilt has liquified into a puddle like the condensation dripping down my plastic glass.Pain Killers

Marveling at the reddening sunset clouds I pull out my cell phone to take a snapshot and notice that Wifi is available and free at this Happiest of Hours. Ignoring the spectacular view, the fascinating people watching and even Blue Eyes, my Captain in Crime, I dive headlong into my dastardly device. Half an hour goes by, happy hour is finito, the sun has set and I have nothing to show for it. Not even a snapshot.

Something beautiful has passed me by because my mind is not yet on vacation. Caribbean Wifi simply does not tweet and forget about posting a Friday Funny.

Scary to think how frequently I connect to the internet on an hourly basis. God forbid my phone should be misplaced. I literally panic when I can’t find the bloody thing at home, running frantically from room to room screeching “Where’s my phone?!” Pathetic.

“To hell with the internet!” I now silently decide to be fully present in our sailing adventure.

At the HelmWhile sailing we gleefully take turns being at the helm to practice our newly learned Captain skills. Did you know that whomever is at the helm is in complete charge? Naturally I take great pleasure in mercilessly bossing the crew around, aka Blue Eyes.

“Arrh, Matey, could you please get my hat, no not that one, the one that’s in the very back of the stern berth.”  Little does my first mate know I’ve hidden the sombrero in question so well he will surely become seasick rooting around for it… Aahh, life’s little pleasure.

When we suddenly find ourselves racing away from a sudden storm that is bearing rapidly down upon us I happen to be at the helm and do not ask my first mate for anything from down below. These islands are littered with shipwrecks. One hundred and fifty and counting. I am white knuckling it through huge waves and blasting near gale gusts from behind. It is all I can do to maneuver the boat and my terrified self is very thankful Blue Eyes did not take the ‘hat trick’ too personally. Right now I need him for survival.

Oh, I know he’ll get me back.

Sunset Sailboat

As the ship’s bow lurches sickeningly down another broadside wave a sailboat slips by tacking in the opposite direction. I squint to confirm it is not a mirage, the crew is comprised of six perfectly tanned, Speedo clad bucky hunks! The cutest one is dangling precariously by one hand off the stern pulpit railing and is holding a video cam in the other as he tapes us in passing.

Um… ahoy?

Enjoying more delicious seaside Pain Killers later that eve on yet another island we carry on about the day’s adventure like a couple of bragging sailors. The sunset is magnificent and my phone makes itself useful by taking beautiful snapshots. I do not miss the internet one teeny bit.

DinghyThere’s just nothing like plunging overboard into obscenely aqua waters for a snorkel… without your cell phone in your hand.

Which makes me wonder. How much am I missing back home with my nose buried in the internet?


HotwireEsmée Saint James


Why Shoe Shopping Is Good Therapy for Your Ego

Sperry Leopard FlatsFriday Funnies: I’LL DO JUST ABOUT ANYTHING for a new pair of shoes, they don’t even have to be sexy heels, pretty much anything will do. I’m addicted you see. Over the years I have become a master… make that mistress Imelda of finding excuses to purchase new shoes.

This time I’ve got a really good one because one of my dreams is coming true. It’s the romantic one where I captain a large sailboat somewhere in the Caribbean with Blue Eyes. Naturally no skipper chick in her right mind would be seen trimming the sheets on a 36 footer without a stylish pair of Sperry Top-Siders. You know, the white soled leather kind that doesn’t slip on wet surfaces. Preferably in a shade to match her flowing white linens and red Chanel lipgloss.

Oh, I can picture myself already… my pretty shoes will be the envy of the Islands.

So at last, a perfectly plausible reason to venture out to the chi-chi shopping mall. Haven’t been since Christmas and you know what happened then… very pricey sunglasses and diamonds. I stay the heck outta there, I’m dangerous.

Visions of glory play in my head I strut purposefully into the mall and make a beeline for the Sperry footwear shop. It’s not far from the entrance, just have to pass through Macy’s where I pause briefly to slip on fifteen shoes from the display tables. I daren’t catch the saleslady’s eye, could be very expensive. Thank goodness I completely miss the earth shattering shoe sale they’re having and I wear virtual blinders as I zip past the shimmering cosmetic counters.

Oooohhh the will power…

t gets worse as I enter the innards of the mall, only 100 feet to go but they are fraught with tall, slender pretty Italian young men with accents peddling cosmetics or whatever the hell from a myriad kiosks. Almost as come hither as the shoes except shoes don’t talk. These fellas do.

Sperry Top-Sider

“Ciao, Bella, where are you from?” “Toucha this… please, it’sa so soft” (No idea what he wants me to touch, I daren’t look).

One be-ponytailed Club Med-ish young ‘un beseeches me “please… come back to me, I just want to ask you one question” as he looks deep into my eyes, motioning me over with his finger. Honestly, that commandeering look reminds me of my father calling me over so he could administer a stiff spanking.

Can’t get away fast enough. Maybe that works with a twenty year old. Poor fella has a lot to learn, or did he pick that move up at a strip club. Maybe he’s an Italian version of Chesterfield Men, er… Chippendale Men. You know, face cream salesman by day….

Seriously, who the heck falls for that stuff anyway? Got to hand it to the folks who do the kiosk hiring though, this is the cream of the pretty European boy crop and it’s a nice touch. What woman doesn’t like a little eye candy now and then.

But I am on a shoe mission, damnit!

Getting past the young Mediterranean cuties is like running the gauntlet, but somehow I make it into the desired shoe shop unscathed.

At the Sperry shoe shop I make out like a rock star, after trying on twenty pairs of shoes I leave the salesman exhausted but happy. The store is three pairs of shoes lighter (haven’t told Blue Eyes about the sparkly flip flops yet) and I am smiling big time.

God bless the shoe fix.

Blue Jeans

On my way out through the gauntlet again I cave and let Roy, a lovely young brunette longingly smooth cream onto my inner wrist while he works diligently  to seduce me with his eyes. I’m pretty sure he’s on commission.

“Please take my personal cell number, I really want to take you for a drink”, wow, he’s trying really hard, does he have any idea I could be his mother? Oh wait, Italian men love gals older than them, hmmm…

To extract myself from this situation without doing any more credit card damage I stuff the phone number in my jeans pocket and head home to prance about in my new Sperrys for Blue Eyes.

Forget remembering how to change the impeller on a sailboat diesel, I’ve got the cutest three pairs of Top-Siders you ever did see, oh and and ego boost to go with it. maybe I didn’t get sexy heels but my ego is six inches taller.

Maybe I should go to the shopping mall more often.

HotwireEsmée St James

Social Media Time Warp – Is Keeping Up Keeping You From Your Work?

Social Media MonopolySOCIAL MEDIA IS SOMETHING RELATIVELY NEW to me and I am in the process of embracing it as a necessary evil. Reminiscing wistfully on the days when all phones were black and you could make prank calls to your heart’s desire, I am painfully aware that as an entrepreneur it is quite impossible to survive without Twitter, Facebook and everything else that is instant.

My mind is willing but still boggled as I wrap my head around just keeping up with Twitter. I daren’t even visit the bathroom without my iPhone lest something happen without me. And don’t get me started on Facebook

“I don’t have to follow every one that follows me, right?” I ask Blue Eyes on one of my trips to the loo, iPhone clutched in hand and eyes intently glued to its screen to see my latest Twitter followers.

Louis Buddha“Huh? You mean Louis?” He replies, turning off his electric shaver for a moment and motioning to my feet. Louis the Lover, my formerly feral kitty is right behind me. He follows me everywhere because he owns me and… I know where the food is.

Miss Kitty, my Siamese cat is more of a princess and pleasures herself by using me as human furniture. She refuses to eat at the same time as Louis much less allow him anywhere in her vicinity. In fact, she won’t even eat the same food he eats because, well… he’s a commoner. She’ll meow plaintively until she gets exactly what she wants. People food.With concern, Blue eyes continues “I noticed Miss Kitty’s Yelp review of the poor service offered at our dining facility. It went something like this”:

“The service is well below par here. I had to wait for the hairy brute noisily gobbling his meal across from me to finish smacking his lips before I could even make myself heard by the waitress. I must say, she could dress a little better, sweat pants and no makeup? Honestly.

I ordered salmon lightly poached in sauvignon blanc with a touch of dill and instead was served this, this brown… dreck reeking of gizzards. Yuch. After forcing it down out of necessity I reconsidered and regurgitated the unsavory swill on a nearby pristine cream ultrasuede chaise lounge. Just the thought of it now makes me gag.

While the service finally came through I would not recommend to my friends unless they like to sing for their supper. Last time I gave this sorry excuse for a restaurant a chance I had to starve myself for two days to get some measly low-sodium sliced turkey breast. An improvement over the usual indigestible dreck but still…”

MIss Kitty iPhoneBy now my eyes are watering from laughing at how ridiculous this whole scenario is. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in staying current with Social Media I don’t even see what’s happening right around me. What ever happened to being present in the  moment… or is Social Media the new moment?

This epiphany is fleeting. My mind quickly starts to boggle again when I realize my phone is still attached to my hand so Miss Kitty can’t get at it.

Who knows what embarrassment she’ll cause me on Facebook. Oh, maybe I should get my friends to review my business as a beauty consultant on Yelp.

Or maybe, just maybe, I could hire someone else to handle the Social Media part so I can actually get some work done…

Should I Tweet that?

HotwireEsmée St James



Photo Credits: Social Media Monopoly –


How I Broke Through My Biggest Fear Barrier – Public Speaking


Friday Funnies: IT’S 7:00AM AND I’M LYING IN BED WONDERING why this hard knot in the pit of my stomach won’t leave me alone. This morning is the going away party for my boss, Theresa and I’ve got a really short and sweet speech planned for her. It’ll be witty, entertaining and I’ll project that…

All Hot and Bothered… Is the Gym Working Out for You?

Wrist Weights

ALAN, OUR BUCKY BODY SCULPT class instructor at the gym makes me do bad things. After my 5,000th lunge at the cardio sculpt class I’m dripping sweat and trying desperately to refrain from panting and grunting too loudly. Luckily I’m not the only sweat soaked Boomer Chick trying to keep her mojo in this 7:00am stupid o’clock…