Sunday, April 27, 2014

Oh, No, We Missed the Lutheran Marriage Encounter!

We checked into a Chicago hotel Friday night and soon discovered that we were sharing the premises with the Lutheran Marriage Encounter.  All those nice people walking in with their notebooks--I wonder what they hoped to improve over the weekend.  

Half the fun of hotels is sharing them with Groups.  We've passed through lobbies full of Mary Kay reps (High heels!  Perfect faces!  Pink Escalades!) and kiddie pageants (High heels!  Perfect faces!  Pink sequins!).

I really regret not crashing that kiddie pageant.  No, it's not the little girls I want to see.  It's their mothers whose hearts beat with hopes, dreams and savage competitive fervor.

Sadly, all I got to do was sit by the front door, watching them tote in wig heads and cosmetic cases and plastic-draped dance costumes. Some day, though.

I wonder what it would have been like to crash the marriage encounter.

Well, wonder no more!   They have a website. 

It says couples spend 48 hours "in a relaxed and private setting," "time away from daily pressures and responsibilities."  Everybody sits through a presentation. Then they get an assignment question and go off to discuss it in private.  They come back for another presentation, another question.  Repeat until 48-hour clock runs out.

One page on their site offers help with "dialog":  "Having trouble coming up with good questions?  These should help."

I guess Mr. Nesquik and I could just fix ourselves with all the handy questions provided by the Lutherans.

So, let's get started, shall we?

"How do I feel when you reach out to others more than me?"
"When I think of taking the day off, I think of . . ."
"How do I feel thinking of standing at the end of your coffin?"
"Scripture dialog:  Song of Solomon, chapter 7, verses . . ."

Whoa.  Back up.  Never mind.   

At any rate, all our Chicago plans left us too busy to improve our marriage.  Not only that, but I made a pittance of progress on Kate Atkinson's When Will There Be Good News?  I can, however, tell you more about the characters you'll meet, should you decide to pick up this engaging read.

Last week, we talked about Reggie, the British nanny.  Reggie tends the child of Dr. Hunter, a woman who trusts rather too much.  She married a man she treated in the emergency room.  His business interests include "a little of this and a little of that."  We can't be sure all his businesses are on the up-and-up.

Then there's Louise, a police detective who knows she thinks too much about death and danger and mayhem.  She saw a therapist for awhile and she got as far as imagining a nice trunk at the bottom of the sea, a place to toss all her negative thoughts.  But when she tried to replace them with positive ones, she couldn't come up with any.

The sad-sack guy detective from the last Atkinson book shows up  again in Good News.

I'm eager for more.  If only life would slow down a bit  . . .

At this frantic pace, I only have time to cook things like:

Cool Cucumber Pasta

We love this salad, even when I leave things out, which I did today.   But that's how things have been lately. My house is a turmoil of unpacked luggage and unsorted mail. I went to Kroger, but forgot the credit card.  I made dessert and forgot to turn off the oven.  It spent all night cooking its own air.

And my marriage remains unencountered, my library book unfinished.

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