More Paintings from the Birthday Girl — My Mom, on Her 80th!

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“Water Lily” “Red Bird in Paradise” “Happy Day” (special whimsical painting for her grandkids) About the artist: Keiko Nishiguchi began painting at age 72 upon meeting a master painter in Honolulu.  She is a mother to three daughters and a … Continue reading

I Met Someone Who Is In A Polyamorous Relationship…And She’s Really Nice

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Until last week, I had never heard of the term polyamorous, let alone that such a relationship existed.  That all changed when I met “Rachel” from Canada recently at a conference I attended in Los Angeles.

This particular career enriching workshop drew people from all parts of the world, and my colleagues hailed from England, Australia, Uruguay, Japan, Canada, Philippines, and from all over the US.  I was enjoying lunch on the first day, sitting in the warm California sun at a table getting acquainted with three foreigners, when somehow the topic of online dating sites came up.  Katherine, a young lady from London, was lamenting that the online relationship which she had high hopes for didn’t pan out, when Rachel (who had clearly mentioned to us that she is married) chimed in.

“That’s how I met my boyfriend.”

Naturally, I asked, “Oh, so is that how you met your husband?”

“No, my boyfriend.  And my husband met his girlfriend that way, too!” she added with a laugh.

Although the four of us each spoke English–albeit with varying accents–we all looked puzzled at Rachel as if she were suddenly speaking to us in a foreign language.  That’s when she added, almost nonchalantly:

“The four of us all live together.  We are in a polyamorous relationship.”  She took another bite of her kung pao chicken.

My mind went off in a spin while I tried to comprehend this conversation.  Is this a normal thing in other parts of the world?  In Canada?  Rachel was really fun and nice and, at least until that moment, seemingly normal.  Well, except for her purple hair, but she is a musician, after all.  Earlier, we had talked about our favorite foods, my husband and kids back home and her husband back at the hotel, and the fact that they didn’t have any kids…although she teaches music to a lot of children.

She continued, “After ten years of marriage, we decided to spice things up a bit.  So we searched online.”

“Are there a lot of other people looking for the same thing?” inquired Katherine.

“Oh yes, there are dedicated sites for people like us.”

Eric, a newly engaged young man also from London, asked with a stutter, “So, how does this work, arrangement-wise?”  Katherine and I were glad that he was the one to broach the question.

“Well, we have a two-bedroom flat, and we all live together quite nicely.”

Before we could ask the next question, she clarified: “We have an organized schedule where we go four nights with one, three nights with the other.  Some people are not all that organized and never know what goes on from one night to the next, but we prefer it this way.”  We all took another bite of our lunch and chewed for a few seconds, mulling over what to say next.

She continued with a laugh, “Oh, and we don’t do any of those kinky things with the whole group like some people like to do.  We keep it strictly in pairs.”  I wondered if this was a closed loop where the boyfriend and the girlfriend also get along.  Did they get to interview each other before they got into this thing?

At that moment, Eric got an overseas phone call from his fiancee, and I got up to refill my drink.  Before we knew it, it was time to resume our afternoon session so we all walked back to the venue.

We didn’t bring up the topic again the rest of the conference.  We were all very busy, after all.  I never did get to meet her husband who was mostly site seeing while we were attending the conference, but I imagine he is pretty regular like the rest of us, too.

Knowing human nature, though, I just can’t imagine this whole polyamorous thing working out very well in the end, but who knows.  As for us, after ten years of marriage, David and I decided to “spice things up” ourselves by having kids.  Me, David, Josh, and Meg all happily living together under one roof.

I think that’s amorous enough for me.  How about you?

A Baby’s Head and Jumping to Conclusions

iStock_000000104406XSmallIt was a warm autumn afternoon.  I had dropped Meg off at her dance class, leaving me with about an hour to kill before she was done.  I didn’t quite have long enough time to drive home and come back again, so I decided to go on a walk in the neighborhood around the dance studio to enjoy the warm October sun.

I changed my shoes to the sneakers I had brought along in anticipation for this little jaunt, and I punched up my favorite music on my iPod as I began my walk.

The area around the dance studio, though safe, is not exactly quiet.  Being a mix of businesses, apartment complexes, and detached homes, there are a lot of cars whizzing by constantly.  I decided to walk the few city blocks in a big rectangle on the left side of the road, always facing traffic and, for the most part, on sidewalks.  The big loop usually takes me about 30 minutes to complete.

As I rounded one corner, I noticed some cars coming off of the tollway up ahead and waiting to turn right towards my direction.  I saw a dark blue sedan with a man in the passenger seat.  The car was still about 50 yards away, but I gasped at the sight of something I could clearly see on his lap.

A baby!

It was unmistakable.  A guy was holding a tiny baby on his lap!  I could see a small, delicate, but perfectly shaped back of a baby’s head and its wispy blond hair.  The infant was most certainly not in a car seat!  And in the front seat!

Oh my gosh — what if the air bag goes off?  What if they crash and the baby goes flying out of this guy’s hands and out the window?  This is child abuse!

I thought of calling 911 to report this crime.  My pace quickened as I raced toward the car before it could turn and take off.  I wanted to bang on his window and wag my finger at this terribly irresponsible act.

As I got closer, I could see this passenger laughing and talking with the driver, another male.  They both looked too young to be responsible dads.  In fact, they looked more like college-age surfer dudes.  Babysitting?  Kidnapping?  What could possibly be the situation under which a mother would entrust the life of her newborn to such reckless young men?  I was starting to feel indignant.  The only thought running through my mind was, “I have to rescue this little child!”

I began to run.  Too late — the light turned green, and the car proceeded to turn right. The car began to speed towards my direction.  When it was within a couple of yards, I was starting to flail my arms wildly to try to stop them and was almost ready to lurch onto the path of this car.  That’s when I got a much clearer view of this poor little blond kid. I did a double take.

It turned out not to be a baby at all.

It was the guy’s knee.

A hairy, perfectly round knee propped up against the side window.

As the car sped past me, I kept waving my arms, pretending to be saying hello to a non-existent person a block ahead.  The two guys were having a great time talking and laughing that they never even noticed me.  Good thing.  They wouldn’t understand mama bear instinct.

After my red face turned back to normal, I began to think that there must surely be a life lesson in what had just transpired.  Don’t jump to conclusions?  Wait to get the whole picture before judging someone? Things are often not as they appear? Some Californians still wear shorts in October? I’m not sure.

Meg finished her dance class and met me outside.  On the drive home, I told her about my goofy experience on my walk, and we had a good laugh.  I’m glad she has a sense of humor.

Have you ever jumped to conclusions like this, even with the best of intentions?  Let’s not completely waste a good life lesson, dear reader.  Let me know in the comments below!