30 (33) Tips to Stay Married 30 (33) Years: Repeat it Back

“Quite obviously you don’t think alike,” Kirk said, “or both of you would have offered that remark simultaneously and in the same words.”

“True but not relevant, Captain, if I may so observe,” said Spock Two, “Even if we thought exactly alike at the moment of creation of the replicate, from then on our experiences differ slightly —beginning, of course, with the simple difference that we occupy different positions in space-time. This will create a divergence in our thinking which will inevitably widen as time goes on.”

“The difference, however, may remain trivial for some significant time to come.” said Spock One.

“We are already disagreeing, are we not?” Spoke Two said coldly, ‘That is already a nontrivial difference.”

James Blish Spock Must Die 1970

This was a piece of advice that came up in conversation with a couple who have been married 47 years who my wife and I was visiting. I was so impressed with this piece of advice that it is our final piece of advice.

“When you have something to convey to your partner, when you’ve told them, ask him or her to repeat back what they understood you to say, not what they heard you say but what they understood you to say.”

No matter what the culture or academics say men and women are different but more than that PEOPLE are different and understand things differently. You can have five eye witnesses to an event and each will have a different spin on what they saw.

People in a marriage are no different, they have different backgrounds, different experiences and different way of looking at things, they can see and hear the same thing and come back with totally different interpretations of it.

So when you say something that’s really important don’t assume he or she thinks you mean what YOU think you mean. Ask them to say how they took it.

This has the potential to save days of potential arguments.

My thanks to Mar Mar and Mike for this input. I wish I had heard it 30 years earlier.

The 30 (33) tips so far

30 (32) Tips to Stay Married 30 (32) Years. The Seven Second Delay

Miranda: Ummm that was incredible. Was it good for you?

Fletcher: I’ve had better.

Liar Liar 1997

Of all the tips you have read so far this is the one that the two of us have the had the most trouble keeping.

On Radio there is a kill switch or if you know you are dealing with something that can cause grief you will have a seven second delay to allow the engineer, to keep something off the air that will get you in trouble. Marriage is the one other place where that can be most useful.

A seven second delay between the time you think something and the time you decide to say it aloud can be one of the best ways to keep a marriage strong.

The most obvious application is during an argument when someone will blurt out something that they instantly wish they could take back, or in a social setting when one might embarrass one’s spouse but believe it or not it’s OUTSIDE of such situations that this rule is most applicable.

A lifetime of watching sitcoms has had a bad effect in the sense that the idea that a conversation ends with a “zinger” might seem to be the norm, but the reality is that while that a good thing if your goal is to get a laugh from millions of viewers if your goal is a good relationship such a statement to your spouse is more likely to cause grief and not just grief the type of grief that doesn’t get expressed right away and is stored ready to be remembered as a grievance at a time of trouble perhaps even at a critical time.

This is your spouse not your “straight man” and there’s a reason why you haven’t quit your day job to go on tour.

It might take some practice, but getting that kill switch “installed” in your head will pay dividends for years to come.

The 30 (32) tips so far

30 (32) Tips to Stay Married 30 (32) Years #31 Have your Own Money

Basil Fawlty: Yes yes, it’s 95 even if I give her ten, I’m still ten up. Polly for the 1st time in my life I’m ahead, I’m winning ah HA HA HA [Mrs. Richards enters] Ah Mrs. Richards how lovely to see you. You’re beautiful vaze that you bought yesterday has just arrived. Now remind me the money that you have there, is it yours or mine?

Mrs. Richards: I told you, it’s mine.

Basil Fawlty: But you’re still  £10 short?

Mrs. Richards: Yes I am!

Basil Fawlty: Polly give Mrs. Richards this would you?

Mrs. Richards: What’s that? [indicating the cash in his hand]

Basil Fawlty: This is mine!

Fawlty Towers Communications Problems 1979

Money is often a cause of trouble in a marriage and one easy way to avoid this is to have your own.

Don’t misunderstand. We don’t mean separate finances, or a separate credit card where you can build thousands of dollars of debt unbeknownst to your spouse (that’s a recipe for disaster). We mean a small amount for personal use.

Each spouse should have some spending money on hand or available for smaller purchases, without feeling like a child asking for an allowance. You want to buy some clothes, books, coffee, comic books, whatever? Set aside a small amount that neither one has to account for. You can choose to spend it, spend it on each other or save it up. It is discretionary and disposable income, and it does not have to be a lot.

By designating an amount as “your spending money” either by keeping some cash back from your check or putting it in an extra bank account if you want something buy something say $50-$200 you don’t have to go begging to your spouse for it or have questions raised when the credit card statement comes in.

DaWife has expanded on this. She has a “fix it” fund that she puts a regular part of her check in, for repairs that need to be done. Last year those included a new shed and fence and this year she’s saving for a patio.

The amounts or what it’s used for (or saved for) doesn’t matter. Having that independence a few dollars provides is meaningful and can help dodge a lot of potential friction over the years.

The 30 (32) tips so far

Black Lives Matter has become O’Brian & Madred I refuse to submit

“You pay me tribute, by which you become my slaves. I have, therefore, a right to order you as think proper.”

The Dey of Algiers to Capt William Bainbridge USS George Washington 1800

We have reached the point where people are being fired for stating that all lives matter (which is true) vs “black lives matter” (which is true because they are a subset of all lives)

We have also reached a point where business’ that I go to have found the need to state very emphatically that “black lives matter” out of fear that their will be looted or vandalized while not daring to state publicly “all lives matter” for fear that they will be punished for it.

To be unable to express the point that all lives matter, which is a central theme of Christianity, because of either financial property or physical retribution is oppression and to submit this is to become a slave to fear.

Furthermore more once you give in on this there will be a new demand and then a new one and then a new one, or as the Dey of Algiers told William Bainbridge when he balked at running an errand with his warship for him after delivering American tribute , a payoff to keep US ships from being attacked he said: “You pay me tribute, by which you become my slaves. I have, therefore, a right to order you as think proper.”

We are told by the left, by the media but the democrat that if we only submit we will not be hounded or fired or have our business looted or smashed.

This is unacceptable to me. What would my father who fought in world war 2. Who defended his business when thugs and/or officials demanded tribute from him over the years so I could have the life I do, and suffered for it, say if I agreed to this demand? What example will I be giving my sons to pass on to their children if I gave in?

So knowing the cost and the risks let me say this on this public platform:

I refuse to submit.

There are four fingers, there are four lights

All Lives Matter

My Wuhan Virus Regimen

by baldilocks

So, this is how I’m maintaining my physical health during the LA lockdown.

My daily intake:

  • Calcium 1000 mg
  • Vitamin D 3000 units
  • Zinc 15 mg
  • Aspirin 325 mg
  • Old person multivitamin (age 50+); two things of special value in this: vitamins B6 and B12

Home juicer squeezed fruit juice consisting of:

  • Strawberries or beets
  • Orange
  • Lemon
  • Grapefruit
  • Tomato
  • Apple
  • Ginger
  • Lime (sometimes)
  • Kiwifruit

Home juicer squeezed juice consisting of:

  • Carrot
  • Tomato
  • Garlic

I drink that last concoction when I’m not going to be near anyone for a bit. A friend told me that it knocks down cold/flu symptoms, but I haven’t had either one since I started drinking it … that may or may not be proof of its effectiveness.

(Disclaimer: I am not a vegetarian and have no plans to become one.)

Nighttime: big glass of water with a spoonful of food-grade diatomaceous earth. Allegedly this stuff does a lot of things, but it does one very important thing: it makes everything come out right in the morning, if you get my drift.

Daily output:

Recently I was diagnosed with a condition called spondylolisthesis. It is literally a pain in my butt on the right side, but that wasn’t what caused me to have it checked out. It was this: if I lay on my back for more than about a minute, my right foot starts to tingle.

It stems from an injury I received many years ago while helping someone move a heavy object. So, that diagnosis has resulted in three things.

The first is physical therapy, during which I learn how to strengthen my core, how to properly stretch and where a cute young guy gives me a back(side) massage twice a week. And, yes, they are open during the lockdown.

The second is power walking; 45-60 minutes, roughly 3 miles, 5-6 times a week. When I reach a speed that puts me under 45 minutes, I increase the distance the next day. It’s a good time to listen to audiobooks, but I don’t do it that often. I get out and walk very early and I like the sound of silence.

I’ve been doing this for about a month and I had thought about doing some jogging, but because of the spondy-blah-blah, that’s out. Good thing, too. In spite of my Kenyan heritage, I hate running.

Walking while wearing a N95 mask: I keep it on the tip of my nose unless I’m near someone. It’s more for their peace of mind than mine.

The third thing: planking. This practice has greatly increased the length of time that I’m able to lie my back before my foot starts to tingle. And it has noticeably decreased my computer hunch.

I feel really great after I finish, both physically and emotionally.

No claims on whether this regimen cures or prevents anything, but it can’t hurt.

I was taking almost all the vitamins and the home-juice long before the onset of COVID-19, so I’m not making any claims on effectiveness against that or any other virus. Mostly I began taking these things to ward off pain, anxiety and lethargy. I have only one prescription – the vitamin D – and I plan on keeping it that way for as long as possible.

And I top all this off with a big dollop of prayers for success. God rewards action.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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Quarantined Thoughts Under the Fedora

Well this week I start my 2nd enforced “vacation” from work in the last six months. The 1st one was when I busted my shoulder and was out just over two months. Now thanks to a positive test of a co-worker of dawife a person she worked with closely she along with me and our youngest are in quarantine.


This isn’t just a quarantine, it’s actually a quarantine within a quarantine because my son and I have been told that he have to practice social distancing from my wife as she might already be infected. So we have to stay six feet away from here whenever possible, clean areas she’s in etc…. Fortunately the house is laid out in a “circle” in the house so it’s easy to avoid each other, also there are two bathrooms so she gets the one downstairs and we get upstairs but the big thing is that she has her quilting room that we avoid anyway.

Of course once she’s in a room quilting the problem isn’t getting her into quarantine, the problem is getting her out.


One instant change has been to the Podcast. The sunday podcast usually starts at 12:35 AM to give me a chance to get home from work but as I’m already home DaTechGuy’s Midnight Court will take place at Midnight EST. That means slightly more sleep for me and because everyone in the house is under quarantine I don’t have to worry about waking up people who have to work.


One other advantage is my taxes, I know that they’ve postponed the filing deadline but even before that for the life of me I couldn’t motivate myself to get off my duff and do them. I do them all on paper and have done so for 30 years. This week with the extra time I’ll finally get them finished and even mailed, albeit from the house.


Lucky for my family my oldest has his own apartment so he is able to go shopping for us. This is handy but there is a real danger of leaning on him too much and when you’re already in quarantine it’s easy to be short tempered so one has to avoid making demands from someone who is doing you a favor by running an errand or two while trying to stay safe from us and getting on with their own life and work.


One might get down at the thought of being stuck in a house for two weeks with dawife and son with nothing but a TV and Dynasty baseball for company but consider at least I have a home with some space, family for companionship and another son who can drop stuff off along with the sicktime to use. Imagine being in a tiny NYC apartment with no space, no family to help out and no relief other than unemployment and the government air that’s on the way.

Things could be a lot worse.

Seeing America in this Crisis through my Father’s eyes and liking what I see

Whoever does not see the hand of God in this is blind sir, blind!

Stonewall Jackson 1862

I was reading Sarah Hoyt’s list of predictions when I woke up 1st thing this morning concerning how the reverberations of this crisis will treat us over time, some good some not so good and I thought of my parents and how their lives shaped me.

My parents as depression era people and as children of people who basically had little or nothing but what they grew or produced themselves did not waste, did not splurge (well my Dad would TRY to splurge for mom but it just wasn’t her nature too need or want anything more than to be at home with her children and grand children around her) and had a profound sense of gratitude for all the good life brought because believe me they had plenty of bad to deal with and the most dangerous place to be when near them was as a threat to their family in any form. Any man who purposely put themselves in that spot was taking his life into his hands

They were also quite different in their outlook toward people. Dad was a natural optimist, Mom was a realist. Dad was always willing to take a chance (too willing sometimes). Mom was a person who played everything close to the vest. Dad couldn’t bear to see people in pain or want if he could help. For example when he got a plow for his truck he would disappear for hours because if he knew you needed to be dug out it was unthinkable to him not to do it when he had a plow handy. Mom would make sure the house was taken care of 1st and a nest egg secure before quietly offering her hand. Dad was chivalrous to a fault, no door for a woman was ever left upheld, no kid crying left without a piece of chocolate, no guy down on his luck to be passed by without being given a buck or two, even if it was his last one and no person stranded by the side of the road to be un-towed and if it was a woman with children he’d usually get them towed to a friend who would take care of them either at cost or for nothing. Mom was always unfailingly proper and polite, but minded her own business and never even volunteered advice to a friend unless explicitly asked. Dad was universally loved and when he died, too young at 65 the funeral home was overrun with people to a point I haven’t seen since the death of Mike Romano. Mom was universally respected and her wake despite taking place in 2012 a full quarter century after her husbands took place in her own home in the room she died in with her very large immediate family in attendance along with her children and grandchildren a private person to the very end.

Beyond all of this there was one other trait their shared. In any kind of a crisis either or both of them were the best people to have around. I never saw either fail to rise to the occasion in any crisis personal or public the only difference being that Mom hand, being full blooded Sicilian, would be less visible to others when deployed.

In my youth I saw their best traits minced by many in their generation but as I’ve grown older and seen all of my mothers family die and only one sister and brother-in-law of my father’s still remain those traits have become rare to the point of non-existence. That’s because those traits were built on a culture that had seen death and trouble up close and had handled them so thoroughly that their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren thought that peace, comfort and safety were the norm in society rather than the incredible historical exception made only possible by the genius of America and the efforts of her people.

And having seen the errors that this assumption has caused, particularly over the last twenty years I have been remarkably delighted over the last month with my fellow Americans.

With the exception of a few hoarders and some idiots I’ve seen a nation and a community that has done rather well in showing its best face when the chips are down. From hard working staff at the local grocery stores to the folks at the local diner, worried stiff about being able to make it, to folks carrying on at their place of work with a mask on their face I’ve seen Americans rising to the occasion, bending but not breaking.

Even in the field of politics, with some exceptions which must be expected I’ve seen people willing to lead and to do the hard work in concert with others. I’ve seen folks willing to deal with realities on the ground even when their personal philosophies may contradict with them, sometimes they’ve been forced out of their bubbles by events, sometimes with great reluctance, but on the whole reality has been respected and actions have been done accordingly

Only in media have I seen the bubble, shored up by the efforts and cash of our country’s enemies, resist puncture but with the new media, social platforms even if this bubble hasn’t burst it we have seen it bypassed.

When all of this started it was my opinion that we as a country would get though it. The more I’ve seen of our people over the last month the more I’m convinced that we will not just get though it but will thrive to a degree that we didn’t realize we were still capable of.

Perhaps I see to much of the world through my father’s optimistic eyes rather than my mothers realism or perhaps I’ve taken Eric Idle’s advice to always look at the bright side of life too to heart, but if the last three years had brought back the hope that America’s best years are ahead of us, the last month has turned that hope into a conviction that will require a lot of evidence to the contrary to shake.

God has put us to the test and so far it appears that America has decided it will not be content to squeak by with merely a passing grade. I think my father would be proud and my mother, while showing her best poker face to the world, would be pleasantly surprised.

Corona Virus Side Effects Under the Fedora

Had some interesting Corona Related personal side effects / stories over the last few weeks.

Yesterday (Wednesday) I went to the Market Basket near my house after dropping off my son to work and noticed that they were now offering Romano’s quality Prime steaks. It seems to me that if this was a crisis where panic buying was warranted such items would not be available. I shot a video on the subject that you can see here.


Because of the cancellation of Events in the area my youngest Son was unable to see Letterkenny Live in Boston on Saturday. Because he was free our family as a whole could go out together to celebrate DaWife’s birthday with our traditional “person who had the birthday picks anyplace they want” that night as it was the closest day to her birthday that we were all free and didn’t have dietary restricts based on Lent or other religious vows.

This turned out to be good luck for her because within 48 hours of that visit Massachusetts imposed a ban on eating at restaurants meaning that if we didn’t have the dinner that Saturday there would have been no birthday dinner out for DaWife.

To paraphrase Job, DaPanic giveth the Panic taketh away


Speaking of DaPanic taketh away my Doctor’s appointment for re-evaluation my shoulder was cancelled as the Governor also ordered all schools in Massachusetts to close which means that my Doctor who has small kids on no notice suddenly had no childcare so he had to stay home.

This meant that I won’t get my shoulder re-evaluated for another two weeks (the new appointment came through while writing this) which means my restrictions at work remain in place and that no decisions to continue or cancel rehab will take place. Yesterday Reliant called and said that due to the new restrictions and the desire to limit exposure they will do my appointment by phone. This means no x-ray but I seem to be progressing OK.

It seems to be that if still like this could be handled this way now it likely could have been handled like this before.


While this has been an inconvenience for me it’s has been a disaster for the Restaurant industry. When we went for DaWife’s dinner instead of the customary wait we were seated at once, there were empty tables and we noticed that they by 8:30 PM there was no sign of them being filled. Our server noted that there were very few people on and that her she and others were really being hit. Tipped her as high as I could afford and it’s a good thing too because as of today her tips are going to be exactly zero.

And that was weeks ago, yesterday I went to the local diner which is doing takeout only. They’re a two person business with no waitstaff so one might thing they could weather it. But Tina told me that business is down 90%+ and if it goes on much longer a business that weathered the great ice storm and the Obama years won’t survive.

Can you imagine being a restaurant owner who two weeks ago spent a ton of money of disinfectant to wipe down the tables with last week who now has a bunch of disinfectant and no tables to wipe?


Some people just can’t be pleased. Last week our place closed early when there wasn’t much work and people were groaning that they were worried about their jobs. This week, much to my surprise and most everyone else our place was listed as vital so remained open after the Governor’s order and now people are complaining about that.

About 35% didn’t bother to show the next day. If this keeps up it means that we will likely not have many, if any short weeks since there are less people to go around. Also yesterday I was practically the only person in my department for 7/8th of the day, the nearest body being 50 yards away.

Now that’s what I call social distancing.


Finally a quick reminder. I am now podcasting again. Rather than pre-recorded stuff I’m streaming live on YouTube Mondays at 12:35 AM EST and Fridays at 9:15 AM EST. I’m going to allow call ins on the Friday show using my old Radio show toll free number 888-9-FEDORA. Yeah it will only be my home phone on speaker but we’ll see if it works. If not then it will just be me.

Keeping It Clean

by baldilocks

The place in which I live at present is the first one in my entire life where I have no on-site access to a washer and a dryer. Even when I lived in homeless housing, there were laundry facilities. (Bad part: you had to keep a close eye on your clothes; I lost a beloved pair of jeans to thieves during my blessedly short stint.)

As a result and beginning in 2015, I have perfected the fine art of handwashing my clothes. When I moved here, I had almost no money for weeks afterward, but I had soap, water and the need for clean clothes. So, I adapted and overcame.

Later on, I bought a small scrub bin and whenever I had a little extra money, I’d head over to the laundromat, but that has become a rarer occasion for three reasons: 1) I almost never have any extra money, 2) I discover that my clothes are cleaner when I handwash them, and 3) I have been grossed out more than once by the detergent and fabric softener containers on the machines.

 The reason I’m bringing it up is because various municipalities – including Los Angeles – deem laundromats as essential facilities which must be kept open and I don’t dispute that. What I find ironic, however is this: laundromats seem like a good place for the spread of icky things like the coronavirus.

All I’m saying is that those of you who don’t have machines at home might consider hand-washing your own clothes. Tip: use borax and white vinegar for odor issues. Vinegar also gets rid of mold and mildew – though I can’t find any evidence that has any effect on viruses — and it won’t bleach out colors.

And you don’t have to get near any strangers who are giving you the side-eye in return.

Hand-washing clothes takes time and some extra work, but time is something we all have a little be more of, so there’s that.

By the way, a year or so ago, one of my fans bought me the following. Comes in handy.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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The Silence of LA

Don’t be afraid

by baldilocks

When it’s over, it will be great.

I will miss the quietness, however.

My residential street runs parallel to a nearby busy boulevard and it makes a great short-cut to avoid heavy traffic

But there are no speedbumps on my street and, as a result, drivers fly down it on their way to and from work. There are lots of near misses, if the amount of horn-honking is any indication.  And I’m not a little surprised that there hasn’t been any trading of lead-encased propellants in the five years that I’ve lived here. This is Los Angeles, after all.

However, other than the speeders, my very racially integrated neighborhood is quite peaceful and the near shutdown of the city due to COVID-19 has given it surrealism. It’s almost like living in the country.

No one is in a rush to go to work because so few are even allowed to go. The schools and colleges are shut down.

It’s certain, however, that much work and education is being conducted via digital means and when the shutdown ends, it will be interesting to see how these things will be transformed by the revelation that more stuff gets done when employees and students stay home.

Back to my nearly traffic-free street: I mentioned on Twitter that I had prayed for a long time that drivers would stop speeding down my street and in the last few days it has happened! Of course, I didn’t pray that it would come from a citywide quarantine, but I do know that God is a multitasker. Also, it is far from the first time that He has answered a prayer of mine in a way that I didn’t expect.

The moral of the story is obvious: be careful what you pray for.

However, I will continue to pray for the physical, financial, and spiritual healing of our country. And I’ll wager that it will shock the world in how it comes to pass.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

Follow Juliette on FacebookTwitterMeWePatreon and Social Quodverum.

Hit Da Tech Guy Blog’s Tip Jar!

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