strawberry bliss

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An extra-large pizza in the bed, Kinzie by our side, and Louis CK comedy on the TV.  Our night fell together haphazardly, but it couldn’t have been more perfect.  Jon came home exhausted from a week in Wisconsin, and so we ordered Galactic Pizza (they deliver the best pie in Minneapolis while dressed in superhero costumes), and scanned Amazon for something that would keep us laughing until bedtime.  We talked about this and that, wished we could be as funny as Louis CK, and washed the pizza down with homemade lemonade.  Bliss.
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I recently read that it takes 10 happy memories to negate 1 negative experience.  The good news, however, is that you can ‘save up’ good experiences to help make future conflict seem less severe.  I’m probably not going to fault Jon much after a perfect date night, right?
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Thinking about conflict made me wonder how else we can minimize bickering.  I searched Google for “relationship conflict,” hit the “feeling lucky” button, and found Close Encounters: Communication in Relationships.  Thank you, Google, that was exactly what I wanted.
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I opened the link and learned, “most spouses have between one and three arguments per week, with at least one argument per month being particularly uncomfortable.”  Oy vey, right?  Better learn how to fight right.  And, lucky for me, the author explained how: she suggested engaging in conflicting rather than avoiding it, and seeking compromise rather than being defensive.
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The happiest couples subscribe to The Accommodation Principle, and seek to “accept and recognize faults rather than retort and defend behavior.”  So, for instance, if Jon criticized me for being messy, I should say, “I can see how you would think that, and I suppose it’s true – what should we do about it?”
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Wish I had read this book along with Biology 101 and History of America.  A little more useful than knowing Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492 and SnO2 + H2 → Sn + 2 H2O.  Gotta know how to keep the bedroom pizza parties coming.

On another note: what should I do with those strawberries?

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the smallest detail

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My favorite time of day is the first couple of hours before the sun comes up.  The quiet of morning makes me feel quite alone in the world, and I enjoy strolling the vacant streets with a cup of coffee.  The walk wakes up my legs and the coffee jolts my mind, and, ever so slowly, people trickle out of their homes and into the streets.  The poetic and incredibly beautiful thing about people in the morning is how determined they seem to begin the day just right.   

If you watch closely, everyone seems to understand their place in the world around 8am – business associates hop determinedly onto bosses, students crack open their books, and shopkeepers swiftly sweep the floors.  As the day progresses, people inevitably feel tired or angry or sad, but in the morning, it just seems like endless hope.

I woke at 7am the first time I slept at Jon’s apartment.  It was a Saturday morning, and I figured he wouldn’t stir for at least another 3 hours.  When I  rolled over, however, I found him watching CNN and sending emails on his laptop.   He kissed my forehead and hopped out of bed:  “You’re up — Let’s get coffee.”  I wiped the sleep from my eyes and thanked my lucky stars for finding me an early riser.  Two mugs today, please.

We crossed the street from our downtown apartment and entered the coffee house on the corner.  I just about keeled over when he grabbed The WSJ like a reflex.  The WSJ is my favorite paper.  

We ordered two black coffees, snuggled into a booth, and divided the paper.  We spent the next few hours reading out loud, swapping stories, asking for opinions, and laughing over the same events.  We occasionally turned away from the paper to indulge in some quality people watching.  
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This is a long story, Reader, but I’m trying to convey the magnitude of our first, seemingly ordinary, Saturday morning together.  Three years later, the Saturday morning routine has become a relationship habit — we wake, brush our teeth, and then we go searching for caffeine and news.  

We were in Chicago this past weekend, and even though we were on vacation, we woke Saturday morning and went searching for the local coffee shop, hand-in-hand.  The power of our relationship ritual was too great to be broken by something as simple as a vacation.  The consistency of our ritual, of the shared morning, coffee, and paper, is something that we look forward to and depend on.  We repeat this Saturday morning tradition, time and time again, because we both find it so fulfilling and happy — down to the smallest detail.   All of our Saturday mornings play out exactly the same way, in a sort of domestic haze, simply because we wouldn’t want them any other way.  We found a moment that we choose, time and time again, to recreate exactly.
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Do you have any relationship rituals?  Families, couples or friends?  Is there something that you look forward to doing, time and time again, with the people dear to you?

Here are some pictures from the weekend Chicago trip:
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