Archive for the ‘Reference Material’ Category

We Interrupt the Drama of My Life for Something More Long Distance Related…

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

In today’s Sunday paper I was pleased to see a column Q&A on Long Distance Relationships in one of those colorful Sunday magazine flyers: USA Weekend Magazine. Written by RelationTips writer, Dennie Hughes, she answers the question, “My boyfriend will be transferring to a school across the country. Do you think that, with all the “face-to-face” technology available, a long-distance relationship could work?”

The answer provided by Hughes starts by talking about inexpensive technology: web cams and Skype, Facebook and Twitter. She also touches on blogging, instant messaging and something I’d never thought about: playing online board games together.

She does mention that LDR’s can work if you are already in an established relationship but doesn’t seem to think it can work if a couple is in the early stages. For the full article click here.

I’m curious as to why she pooh-poohs people just getting started in a relationship. Obviously she doesn’t know our guest blogger and friend Amy who was kind enough to share her story with us in September. Amy met her husband on-line when they lived states apart. They just celebrated their 11th anniversary in the Spring.

Nor has Hughes met my friend and neighbor who met the man who would become her husband literally hours before she boarded a plane back home from her dream vacation in Egypt. They not only managed to get through those first few months, they are now several years married and have a beautiful son.

Hey Dennie – don’t be so quick to dismiss new love, even if it is miles or continents apart. It may not be “ideal” or more likely the real issue it doesn’t comply with what most people think are “normal” relationships. But people make it work all the time.


FCC – (Cat)ch Me if You Can

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Truth telling time: I don’t like talking on the phone. That makes it rather a challenge in a long distance relationship when besides email telephones are the only way I have any interaction with Mr. J while he is in his respective domicile.

Even though I totally recommend webcams as a way to stay in touch, both of our computers predate built in webcams.

A few weeks ago I got an email from my mother who had just bought a laptop with a built in webcam. (What on earth does my mother need with a laptop?) And she’s all tricked out with her snazzy built in webcam and an account with Skype. Who knew?

She’s kicking back online talking to her brother and sisters. Then I’m being bombarded with emails from my aunts and uncle full of recommendations on which webcam to buy so I can “get with the times.”

Grousing, I drove to Best Buy and plunked down $45 for a Logitech webcam.

Installation was a breeze and before I knew I was in business. The first thing I thought when I saw myself in the inset window was: Oh. My. God. I look terrible. Scrambling over to my social networking site to grouse about how appalling I looked my friends assured me that everyone looks dreadful on a webcam. Since I don’t have discretionary funds to burn on a plastic surgeon, I decided to believe them.

Once I got past the Haggard Me on the webcam I realized how much fun it was. I could actually see into my parent’s house. It was just like sitting there with them having a conversation with both of them at once. This is way cooler than the phone. I’m totally hooked.

On our weekly call my parents’ cat decided he wanted in the act and jumped up into my father’s lap, effectively getting some “on screen” time.

Hearing a meow coming from my computer, my cat Alex decided to get involved. Up on the keyboard he jumped, claws clicking across my keyboard as he noses the screen.

Then, he is turning and the next thing I know he has provided my parents a full view of his butt. I believe Sharon Stone once called it “seeing all the way to Nebraska!”

“Alex!” I yell as my parents chuckle.

I hear my father’s very southern drawl, “Lara – I don’t know about where you live but sitting in the state that is the buckle on the Bible belt, that sort of thing is illegal!”

Terrific. Just what I need….a fine for indecency from the FCC. On the upside: Alex’s butt was clean and now everyone knows it!

My parting bit of advice about webcams: They are terrific and you should absolutely jump on this bandwagon if you haven’t already. On a cautionary note: be careful that you actually log off once you think your call is complete and/or are fully clothed when you fire up your webcam. You could be displaying parts of yourself (a la Janet Jackson like) that you never meant to.

Anyone have any funny webcam stories to share? I’m all ears (and eyes).


The Time Traveler’s Wife….Commuter Couple?

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

Mr. J is a sucker for time travel. Books, movies, TV shows, he loves them all.
I mentioned that the movie The Time Travelers Wife was opening August 14, 2009.

He was intrigued not having heard of the blockbuster book by Audrey Niffenegger.

I read the book when it came out in 2004/2005 but Mr. J claimed I didn’t tell him about it. Zipping over to to read him the “dust cover” synopsis of the book I was startled as I read Publishers Weekly’s review of the Audio book, praising the performer who “ably expresses the longing of the one always left behind, the frustrations of their unusual lifestyle, and above all, her overriding love for Henry”.

That simple line so aptly expresses how I feel about my commuter marriage.

As the person who is “left behind” there are times that the pain of our partings is heartbreakingly fresh. And no matter how many ways I’ve steeled for it, and made plans, as I do on each occasion, there is always a wave of melancholy that washes over me as the door closes behind my husband and I once again am living the single life.

I will now re-read Ms. Niffenegger’s tale of an unusual marriage with a fresh eye, and I suspect with an even renewed bit of empathy for Clare’s predicament. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the book, the movie and whether or not you think I’m now projecting so much that I could see “commuter marriage” in my bowl of corn flakes!

Posted in Reference Material |

What the heck is a Commuter Couple?

Friday, July 24th, 2009

I’d been living apart from my husband, Mr. J, for over a year before I realized that there was actually a term for people such as us: couples that lived apart.

The most common reasons couples live apart are due to military service or they met on-line they lived in different states or even different countries.

The first time I ever read the term “commuter couple” was in Microtrends by Mark Penn .

He states that per a 2006 study more than 3.5 million people are part of a commuter couple.

Penn’s entire book was an interesting read. You can check out his website here He acknowledged that many commuter couples are indeed military or involved in on-line long distance relationships but he pointed out that the largest growing segment of commuter couples were those who were separated because their careers keep them apart.

That is where I come in. My husband accepted a position out of state and due to a variety of reasons, I didn’t follow. Within weeks of his taking a better, more fulfilling job out of state, I was offered a promotion at my company. I took it. And our fate, for the time being anyway, was sealed.

We are two of the 3.5 million Americans living in a commuter marriage.

I’ll check back in soon with how that’s working out for me.

Generally we see each other every other weekend. We are within driving distance and every other Friday my husband pulls up stakes (grabs his suitcase and his cat) and comes home for the weekend.

Once I had that vernacular: Commuter Couple or Commuter Marriage, I found it much easier to find more resources. One of the best books I’ve read on the subject is The Commuter Marriage: Keep Your Relationship Close While You’re Far Apart by Tina B. Tessina

Her website can be found here.

She takes the definition even further and includes people who physically live together but never see each other due to shift work or traveling, such as a long distance trucker.

Regardless of what you consider yourself: living together apart, a commuter couple, in a long distance relationship, spouse deployed for a finite amount of time, or just a friend turned up to support me, drop me a line. I’d love to hear about your experience in one of these wacky relationships that millions of people are making work!