Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Date Idea: 2-for-1 Dating

A few days ago a posted a date idea that I wish to enhance today. The idea was to make a bunch of date ideas and to put them in a jar. Then, when it was time to go on a date, pick one of the ideas at random and do that thing.

If you are like us, you get coupons in the mail, in the newspaper and even on the receipt at the grocery store. You can even buy a book of discount coupons or a coupon card from the kids in the neighborhood as part of a fund raiser. The problem we have is that we don't usually get the value out of it because we forget about over the course of a year.

Here is an idea of what you can do. When you get coupons go through them and add the ones you are interested in into the date idea jar. Then, when you draw out the coupon, not only will you have a good date idea, you will get a discount at it as well.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day

Many people have sacrificed much, even their lives, for us. Many are in harms way today doing the same. Today, we take a moment to look outside our own relationship and remember and honor those who have defended us and who are now defending us. Our prayers are with you all.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Complementing Each Other

In My Fair Lady, Professor Henry Higgins wonders, "Why can't a woman be more like a man"? I don't think he is the only man to ask that question. Neither is it just a guy thing, woman wonder why men aren't more like them as well. After all, we like to be with people like us.

Today we are going talk about complementing your sweetie, not complimenting. The dictionary says that complement means:
Either of two parts that complete the whole or mutually complete each other.
Think of it as two puzzle pieces that fit together. The pieces are not the same shape, yet together they form a complete picture. The same thing applies with married couples.

Consider the following:
In His grand design, when God first created man, He created a duality
of the sexes. The ennobling expression of that duality is found in
marriage. One individual is complementary to the other.
--- Gordon B. Hinckley
He then goes on to quote in 1 Corinthians how neither the man is without the woman and the woman without the man. See Today and Forever. A marriage is not the pairing of likes, nor is it the welding of opposites. Instead, it is the union of the elements which come together to complete each other.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Sharing your Ancestors

Memorial Day is coming up, at least in the U.S. We make it a point to visit graves of both my family and that of my sweetie. I have taken to talking pictures of the headstones, but I am into genealogy that way. One fun part of genealogy is meeting distant relatives over the internet.

This year, as you visit the cemetery, take your digital camera along. Take nice pictures of the headstones. When you get back home, go to Find A Grave and add your ancestors and those of your sweetheart. They allow you to include pictures so you can upload those pictures you took. It is a great way to honor and remember.

If anyone is in Idaho Falls and can make it to the Rose Hill Cemetery and take pictures of Thomas, Beam and Nutini (if there are any) gravestone markers, I would appreciate it. I have a bunch of family there, but don't make it up there.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Date Idea: The Newlywed Game for Two

Ever see a game show called "The Newlywed Game"? The premise of the show was to get newlywed couples on the show and to see how well they really know each other. First all the husbands were taken off stage. The wives were then asked fill in the blank type questions. Next, the husbands are brought back in and asked the same questions. Points are awarded if both husband and wife answer in the same way. Then the wives go off stage and the process repeats.

Modifying the game somewhat, here is an idea for a bunch of date nights. Get two jars, one for restaurants and one for activities. On a slip of paper write the name of a restaurant where you like to eat. Make sure it is in your price range for a regular date. Put the slip of paper in the jar. Repeat as many times as you can think of places you like to eat. It would be good to set a dollar limit before hand so you don't end up putting in restaurants that you can't afford except on special occasions. Have your sweetie do likewise, but don't show each other what you have written. Consider only putting in equal numbers of papers. That is, you should both have the same numbers of papers added to the jar.

Do the same thing with the activities. Again, don't put things that are out of your price range or are not always available; a dollar limit is also a good idea here. For example, putting "see a movie" is ok but "go to the home show next week" is not ok. You will see why in a minute.

Now, on date night, reach in a grab one paper from the restaurant jar and one from the activity jar. Go and do whatever is written on the papers. This way you will end up doing stuff you each like to do, and getting to know more about each other in the process. Once a paper has been withdrawn, it can't be put back in until the jar is empty. That way you don't end up doing the same thing over again and miss doing some of the other things.

As you can see, it will take many dates over a long period of time to get through all the papers in both jars. That is why you can't include activities or meals that need to be done within a certain time frame.

Its also ok to just use one jar for a given date night. If you aren't going out to eat and just want to do an activity, that is just fine. The point is: a) to have regular dates, b) to do things on dates that each of you enjoy, and c) to break out of the "dinner-and-a-movie" mold. Just like in the newlywed game, you might find out some things about your sweetheart that you never knew before.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Coded Messages

People have used coded messages to send information for a long time. Messages can be coded for a couple of reasons. Sometimes the message is coded to prevent other people from reading the message. Even the Romans used to use secret codes to send messages so the enemy would not be able to understand the message were they to capture the messenger.

One code they used to use was to take a long strip of paper and wrap it around a stick, barber-shop style. Now write the message down the stick. Fill in the rest of the paper with random letters. Now take the paper off the stick. If you try and read it, the message looks like a meaningless jumble of letters. To read the message, just wrap it around the stick again.

Another reason for sending coded messages is for speed. The general might order part of his troops to wait until they see the smoke from a bonfire, then attack. The meaning of the message is decided upon beforehand. Then a very simple thing, like lighting a fire or waving a flag, can have a larger significance due to the previously agreed upon meaning it had already been given.

You probably have some coded messages you and your sweetie use to communicate. Maybe there is a certain look or a special word that means something only to each other. For the past several months a few "coded messages" have worked their way into this page. For a good time, try some of these:
Later we'll explore some more fun ways of a secret message to your sweetie.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Anticipating Star Wars

I was reading in the paper about some of the people camped out for a week in line to see the latest Star Wars. Its been wet here lately so that have had to camp out in the rain. There were even some families there, with all the kids. When asked why they were doing it, they responded that this is the last time, the end of an era. It was something the family would remember for a long time.

Although Star Wars may not be your thing, do something to make some memories. Family vacations or the romantic getaway are good memory makers. Sitting in line for Star Wars and meeting new people in the process also seems to work.

There are lots of other opportunities to make lasting memories. Most community and charitable organizations need volunteers. Even if you can't sing or act, the local theater could use stage crew help. Maybe take a class together. The city is registering for their summer program. Maybe a dance class or a dutch-oven cooking class together.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Does this make me look fat? Part II.

Previously, how to answer the dreaded question "Does this make me look fat?" was discussed. Today we continue with a broader discussion of the question. Why do people ask these sorts of questions, knowing full well that any answer is the wrong answer?

First, this is not just a girl thing. Guys ask these same sorts of questions as well. I find myself asking my sweetie, "Hey sweetie, what do you think of this thing I did"? The last thing I really want is for her to tell me what she thinks. Just as the last thing she really wants to hear from me is if she is fat.

What both we really want is assurance. For some reason the asker has a feeling of self-doubt and needs to be assured. Consider the situation where a woman is going to a 10 year high school reunion. There will be people there she has not seen in a lot of years and she wants to make a good impression. She is worried about how she looks, what her classmates will think of her and she wants to look her best. This situation can cause even the most confident person to question themselves.

Situations arise from every now and again where we step outside our comfort zone. The further outside the zone we get, the less sure we are of ourselves. The comfort zone is where we feel in control, where life is ordered, and where we have experience dealing with it. Outside the comfort zone life is not in our control. Fear and insecurity live outside the comfort zone. People who stray far outside their comfort zone need assuring that they will still be ok.

But, people never say "I need assuring". Sure your sweetie will say nice things about you, but there is the question of how genuine the feelings are. Are these nice things true or just what I wanted to hear? Instead, we go fishing for assurances. We ask a question like "Does this make me look fat?" That way we feel more certain of the sincerity of the answer.

That also explains why neither "yes" nor "no" works very well as an answer. Neither answer provides the assurance the asker is needing. When your sweetie asks you a seemingly impossible question, check the context in which the question is being asked. Has your sweetheart left their comfort zone and done something new or different? Is your sweetheart planning on leaving their comfort zone and needs to know they are up to the change? If so, answer the question in such as way as to give assurance. Your sweetie will really appreciate it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Bragging Rights

In the movie, Johnny Lingo, Johnny tells that when the women gather and talk, they discuss about how many cows their husband bargained for them. The one whose husband saw fit to give her father the most cows had the bragging rights. In real life, people like to play this same game of one-upsmanship. We all like to stand out and we all like to have a story to tell. There is something about human nature and group dynamics that makes us want to be part of the group and stand out in the crowd at the same time.

Here's an example. I have noticed that when my sweetie gets together with other women the talk will sometimes turn to wedding rings, especially if there is a newly engaged girl in the group. Each woman will have some story to tell that makes their ring unique. One diamond is so big. Another has a special cut to it. The crown on this ring is made of stronger stuff. My sweetheart's stone isn't the biggest, but she got to design the ring and have it custom built by a friend. While each woman is part of the group, each has a unique story to share that is individual to them. If one of the women doesn't have something unique to tell about her ring, she feels left out to a certain extent.

This is not just a girl thing either. The guys do it as well. Next chance you get, listen to guys talk about computers, cars, trucks, power tools, etc. We all love having a story to tell that others find interesting.

Give your sweetie something to brag about. Provide a story that will be interesting to tell in small groups where people like to swap stories. No, the fact that you scored 12,763, 470 points in Pac-man is not something your sweetie will be able to brag about, unless the conversation drifts into "the doofus things my sweetheart has done". One area to have bragging rights is in romantic gestures, keeping in mind not to go overboard: Here some ideas of things you can do to give your sweetheart those important bragging rights:
That will do to start with. Also, remember that you have talents unique to you. Sharing and exploring those talents can also be the stuff of good tales. While scoring a bazillion points on a video game is not what we are getting at, winning a game tournament is .... ok its still doofus. But competing and doing well are always good for stories and bragging rights. Even competing and not doing well is still better than not having tried at all. The following are a few specific examples, but you have your own talents and will need to adapt these ideas to your own situation. The important idea is to get outside the comfort zone with your talents and share them more publicly than you are used to:

If your talent is ...Consider something like ...
photographyentering a picture in the county or state fair
singingpublically serenading your sweetie

Monday, May 16, 2005

To Teach, To Learn

I received feedback about one couple who had enjoyed time working on the car together. Every person has things they are good at and are knowledge about. Likewise, every person has things they do not understand and really do not do very well.

There is something about teaching that makes one feel good. Its fun to watch as another person learns and grows. Learning is just as fun. Finding out you really can do what you thought you could not do or were even afraid to try. Both the teacher and the student grow from the experience.

Think about yourself and your sweetie. What are some things that your sweetie could teach you? Schedule a date and ask your sweetie to help you learn.
  • Simple auto maintenance
  • Cooking your favorite meal
  • Chess
  • Golf
A note on being teachable. As adults we are used to being able to do stuff well. It can be a really ego-struggle to admit that there are some things we are not good at and allow ourselves to be taught. You need to leave your ego at the door and really try to learn.

Note to teachers: Keep the above note in mind. Of course it would be easier to complete the task yourself. Be patient.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Date Idea: Go Fly a Kite

It is so nice to be able to get out and enjoy this time of year. What better way, weather permitting, to enjoy a nice day then to get a kite up? Its fun but not that difficult. Rather than buying a kite, consider building your own, they aren't that hard.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Friday the Baker's Dozen-eth

Here it is again, Friday the 13th, namesake of a lot of really bad movies. Maybe that is why the day is considered unlucky because it makes you think of awful cinema. I'm sure there are other reasons for the Friday the 13th superstition that you could find if you just looked in different places.

Unless your sweetie suffers from triskaidekaphobia, the day makes a good time for a surprise gift for your sweetheart. A while ago it was suggested:
Give your sweetheart a dozen real roses and one silk rose with a note that says "I will love you until the last flower fades".
For whatever reason, we like to think in terms of "a dozen". Many things come in dozens likes eggs, donuts, and flowers. Today's tip is to turn the common place dozen into a special dozen plus one, a baker's dozen if you will. The trick is to make the "plus one" stand out as a surprise as in the above idea. The note focuses the attention on the one flower that will last forever, just like your love. How romantic.

Some other ideas for a dozen plus one:
  • A balloon bouquet with 12 regular balloons and a single Mylar balloon.
  • A dozen roses with a single daisy
  • 12 Hershey's kisses with a note as to where to get the other kiss
  • 12 romantic coupons with an extra one hand made by you. The extra one could be something more personalized for your sweetie, or it could be a fill in the blank one so your sweetheart to say what the coupon is to be used for.
  • A dozen suckers (think Dum Dum or Tootsie Pops) and a giant heart shaped sucker.
  • This one is a bit obscure. Get a picture of the two of you, make a copy and write a note on the back. Then cut it into 12 pieces. Hid the pieces where your sweetie will find them. When the 12 gifts are assembled, they will create the thirteenth, your note.
  • Make a CD with 12 of your sweethearts favorite tracks. Make the 13th track either you singing, playing an instrument or just even you talking and telling your sweetie how much they are loved and appreciated.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Whistle While You Work

Do you like doing chores? Do you enjoy going to work? Do you look forward to all those things you hate to do? Whether you like it or not, there are certain things you have to do that you do not like to do. It might be dishes, laundry, yard work or just work work.

A previous post discussed having passion
for some things in your life. Today, we are not talking about those things, but the things we don't really want to do. As parents and spouse, there are some things that just have to be done. We, as the responsible adults, are responsible to make sure they happen.

What is our attitude about these chores? Do we gripe about chores? Do we complain about work? Do we find ways to put it off, so we can complain and gripe about it more? Do we spend more time complaining than it would take to do the chore?

What has this to do with romance and flirting? Chores and work are about as far from romance and flirting as you can get. The answer is enthusiasm. There is something about an enthusiastic person that makes everyone around them feel alive. We want to be around enthusiastic people, we are attracted to enthusiastic people. Enthusiasm is contagious and we all want to catch it. Of course, complaining and griping are about as unenthusiastic as you can get. And if people like to be around enthusiastic people... Well, you get the idea.

So, repeat after me "YIPPEEE!!! I get to do dishes today". No, sarcasm is not enthusiasm. OK, so you don't have to like doing the dishes to be enthusiastic while doing the dishes. Just whistle while you work. Maybe put on some music you like and dance around while doing the dishes. Sing or whistle. The trick is: don't be disagreeable just because you are doing a disagreeable task.

Remember to take time to smile. The more enthusiastic you are about life in general, the more you sweetie will want to be around you. The more joie de vivre you have, the better your kids will respond. The more enthusiastic you are, the more enthusiastic other people will be about you, especially your sweetie.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


We like to play different board and card games. Its a great way to pass some family time or even just the two of you. The downside to most games is that they are competitive. That is, if one of you wins, the other must lose. There is nothing wrong with that really. Life is just like that.

As fun as being competitive is, its often more enjoyable and more rewarding to work together. That is where Hoopla comes it. Rather than competing against each other, all the players make a single team trying to complete a number of given tasks in a certain amount of time. The game consists of a bunch of cards with something on them. There is also a die with colors instead of numbers. Also included is a wind up timer.

On your turn you roll the dice. The task is determined by the color that shows. Each task consists on getting the other members of your team to guess what is on your card. The color determines how you give the clues. One color means to draw it, another means to act it out without talking, another is that you can use any word not included on the card but all the words must begin with the same letter. There are others but I'll save them as a surprise.

This is a great game in a couple of ways. First, it teaches you and your family to work together to solve problems. Second, the timer is set for 15 minutes meaning it won't take all night to play. Finally, it is just plain fun.

The one drawback I've noticed is that my youngest (8) doesn't know what all the words mean. She likes to play anyway. We just added the rule that if she doesn't know what the word means she can add the card back into the deck and get another card. For the younger crowd, try Cadoo.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Date Idea: Visit an Art Museum or Gallery

I went on a business trip to get some training in Chicago. Unfortunately, my sweetie was not able to come so I had to spend my evenings alone in a strange city. One of my friends had told me about the Art Institute of Chicago, so I decided to go see it one evening. I found out that on Tuesday admission is free thanks to the generous support of Ford Motor Company. What a great evening I spent there. From the Art of Flight exhibit to the ancient armor and the paintings. It was a really enjoyable time. I just wish my sweetie could have shared it with me.

Of course not everyone lives in Chicago, I know I don't. But most places have art galleries and museums. Colleges and universities often have art displays and even some traveling exhibits. Even one of the malls here in town had a traveling Titanic exhibit here for a while. Another bonus is that you can often get in free or very cheap.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Mother's Day

Mother's Day, they say, is a made up holiday. Just an excuse for the flower companies and greeting card companies to make money during an off season of the year. Well, we here Ferocious Flirting feel that made up holidays are just fine. Particularly holidays dedicated to how much we love and appreciate our sweethearts.

My mother is not perfect, although just about. She was the perfectest mother I ever had. She protected me, even when I didn't think I needed protection. She tried to guide my chosen career in life, but for the life of me I can't figure out why she wanted me to be a physicist. Maybe I'll ask her later today. However, she did not stand in the way of me becoming a professional geek ( software engineer). Mother tried to make sure I married the "right" girl and when I found my own right girl to marry, she loved her too.

My wife is perfect for me. As I watch her sacrifice herself for her children, I finally understand what my own mother sacrificed for my and my siblings. The worries and the pain of watching kids commit follies and suffering the consequences. The joy of sharing in the little triumphs: kicking a goal, scoring a hundred on a test, making the orchestra, or drawing a beautiful horse.

My sweetheart is one of those people who can doing anything exceptional well. When she decides to do something, not only does it get done, it gets done superbly. She is also amply blessed with so many talents. She sings, dances, plays flute, draws, sews, teaches. When ever she asks me to do some task around the house, its not because she can't do it better than I can, because she can.

Mom, I love and appreciate all that you have done for me and my family.

Sweetie, thanks for blessing my life by sharing your life with me. I love you.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Last Mother's Day Gift Idea

Twas the day before Mother's day and all through the land,
sons and daughters were searching the land
for a gift that was best of large or small
for a woman who is the grandest of all

One of my sweetie's favorite pieces of jewelry is a mother's necklace.
It is a simple chain with a small ring with a birthstone, one for each of the kids. Many woman have either a ring or a necklace already.

If you sweetie already has a mother's ring or chain, consider giving her charms soldered together to represent your marriage. It was not overly expensive but it is meaningful and unique. My sweetheart wears hers all the time.

Its probably too late to order from Lifetime Mothers, a leading on-line retailer of mothers rings, bracelets, charm, and necklaces. but they still have some good ideas for another time.


Friday, May 06, 2005

Recorded Message

As discussed previously, a personalized message means so much more than just saying it. Hand written notes mean more than email. Why? Its the difference between a work of art and a product off the assembly line. The work of art is one of a kind. It is unique and there will never be another one like it. Same with your hand written note. Same with your sweetie.

My sweetheart and I came across some audio tapes we had. One I had recorded and one was sent to my sweetie. The family had so much fun listening to them. It had been a lot of years and we had forgotten what was even on them.

Why not make an audio tape or CD for your sweetie? Rather than trying to sit down and recording a whole hour, record it in little sound bites over 2 or 3 weeks. Include on it funny things that have happened, things your sweetie has done that you appreciated, little things you are planning on doing, and how much you love your sweetheart. Once it is done, wrap it up and give it to your sweetie.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Cinco de Mayo

A friend of mine has dual citizenship in the U.S. and in Canada. This lucky dog gets to celebrate twice as many holidays as I do. He has 2 Thanksgiving feasts, although it takes me about a year to recover from just the one. The Canadians also have extra holidays like Boxing Day, Easter Monday and Canada Day. Just because my friend celebrates the Canadian holidays, does that make him a poor citizen of the United States of America? No, of course not. Especially when I get to celebrate with him.

Looking south instead of north today we see that it is the Cinco de Mayo, which is a big celebration in Mexican history. Some facts about Cinco de Mayo:
  • It is NOT Mexican independence day. It is actually September 16.
  • It celebrates the defeat of a larger, better equipped French army by a smaller army of Mexicans in the state of Puebla.
  • During the American Civil War, Napoleon tried to invade Mexico and add it to his empire.
  • The US helped out the Mexicans, once the Civil War was over.
What better excuse for a fiesta than to join in with the celebrations of our neighbor to the south. Some ways of celebration Cinco de Mayo include:
  • Have Mexican food for dinner. Many Mexican restaurants celebrate this day.
  • Go to a Cinco de Mayo festival in you r community.
  • Play some Mexican games.
  • Watch the Mask of Zorro. Ok, it doesn't really have anything to do with Cinco de Mayo, but it is still fun.
Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Support our Troops

Whether you support the war in Iraq or not, the soldiers serving deserve our support. Most of us have a neighbor, friend or relative serving overseas. Why not spend some time together doing something for those soldiers.? See Any Soldier for ideas of what to send. They also can help if you want to send a package but don't know any soldiers.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Johnny Lingo's Eight Cow Wife

There is a story of Johnny Lingo which you can read and has been made into a short film. The story is one of a Polynesian trader who goes bargaining for a wife. No one can understand when he offers the unheard of sum of eight cows for a girl that most consider not worth even two cows. Johnny, it turns out, is a good trader after all.

People live up to or down to others expectations of them. Tell a kid they are stupid and they will believe it for the rest of their life. Treat a kid as if they are intelligent and they perform better in school. As quoted in ERIC Digest 116 July 1997 on Expectations for Students:
Students tend to internalize the beliefs teachers have about their ability. Generally, they "rise or fall to the level of expectation of their teachers.... When teachers believe in students, students believe in themselves. When those you respect think you can, you think you can" (James Raffini 1993).
Living to expectation applies not just to students, but to your sweetie as well. Criticism, labels, names and other put downs will start to be internalized by your sweetie. Compliments, praise and other expressions of approval will also be internalized and reflected by your sweetheart.

The lesson of Johnny Lingo is that if you want to have the best spouse on the planet, treat them as if they were already the best.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Paying Compliments

Many people do not know how to take a sincere compliment. Part of the problem may be that people do not receive compliments often enough to have practice gracefully accept them. Also, since they are rare, we wonder what it is the person wants from us. Is this really a compliment or am I just being buttered up? People also fear that accepting a compliment appears arrogant.

What do people do when they receive a compliment. A common response is to put yourself down. Consider the this common exchange:
You have a wonderful singing voice.
I was off key.
What follows is that the giver of the compliment feels the need to reinforce the compliment while the receiver feels the need to continue to put themselves down with each compliment so as to appear modest. The net result can be that both parties feel poorly with the exchange.

How to receive a compliment.
Simply say
Thank you, that was very kind of you to say.
Notice how the receiver does not appear immodest because they are thanking them for the nice words they said. The giver feels as though the compliment was accepted. This response also works if you are just being buttered up because it does not increase your own sense of self-importance.

How to give a compliment.
Give it in a way that allows for no argument. One way is to write it in a note. You can't argue with a note so there is no need for the receiver to defend their sense of modesty. Notes also work because they seem more sincere.

When I was looking for a birthday card the other day, I ran across some cards I hadn't noticed before. As you know, the greeting cards are divided into categories like Birthday, Mother's Day, Graduation, and so on. There is a section I hadn't really paid attention to called Encouragement. As I read through the cards, I discovered that the thoughts contained within these cards were the kind of things I wanted my sweetie to know but that she would feel the need to put herself down if I were to say them.

Next time you want to pay your sweetheart a compliment, consider taking the time to find a nice card and writing your thoughts. It will make your compliment that much more appreciated because of the time and effort spent in paying the compliment.