Asking Amy issue #2 March 11

Welcoming a Slo-mo spring! Featuring Sneak Peek Q & A; A pastor telling wives how to wife; Obit of a high flier, Arty things, Self Helping; the debut of Laura Recommends, featuring -- yes! -- Laura.

I live in the windswept wilds of Upstate, NY. The last of the bulldozed snow mountains won’t be completely gone until June. Lately, however, there’s a whiff of the changing season in the air — even as the snow continues to fall.

Want to know how I do spring?

(Very joyfully, and very slowly — like my dog, Molly)

Spring! I’m coming at you … slo-mo.

This Week’s Sneak Peek Q and A

Wherein I secretly share a Q and A before it is published elsewhere (— shhhhhh!):

Dear Amy: I have been with my husband for 40 years.

I thought we had a great life together – however, I just found out that he has a biological son who is only two months younger than our youngest son! 

The child’s mother put him up for adoption, which my husband claims he knew nothing about until months after the adoption was done. 

What really hurts is that he cheated on me with this same woman when I was pregnant with our first child. 

He says that she meant nothing to him (just sex), and that he always loved me, and that since it happened 30 years ago, I should just move past it. 

I found out about all of this a few months ago when his son contacted my daughter through a DNA matching site. 

Since then, all I can think about is that our entire life was a lie. 

How do I get past this?

Heartbroken in PA

Dear Heartbroken: Your husband does not get to declare this story over, just because he wants it to be.

In addition to his infidelity, he fathered a child, knew about the child, and seems to have done nothing to help the child or the child’s mother. This is quite a “tell” about your husband’s deeper character, and you have the right to question his character now. 

DNA matching has dragged all of us into a new age of discovery, and quite often these DNA disclosures force us to face uncomfortable facts about ourselves and the people we love.

“Move on” is not acceptable. It won’t help you. Your husband should work a lot harder to go through this with you. Then you would have the opportunity to move on together, reclaiming your shared marital history in the process. 

A counselor could help you to unpack and process this challenging truth. Your husband should respect your need to handle this in your own way. 

Your children will also have questions and concerns, and their father should be brave enough to face these questions honestly. I hope your family will also eventually find a way to be open and inclusive with this newly-discovered biological son.

This week, in sports:

Maia Chaka was recently named as the first Black woman to officiate for the NFL.

OK — that’s impressive enough. But when I read about her, I noticed that buried behind the headline is a career choice even more impressive: She is a health and phy-ed teacher at a school in Virginia for at-risk teens.

I don’t know much about NFL referees, but, like all the greatest teachers, Chaka is relentless, focused, fierce, and compassionate.

You can read about Maia Chaka's outstanding career here

More sports, sort of:

Carla Wallenda has died. She was 85, and the last surviving child of the original Flying Wallendas — the family that garnered world-wide fame for their amazing aerial stunts. This is an extremely dangerous profession (many of her family members died performing stunts), and yet she kept performing her signature move: “a heart-stopping headstand on a sway pole — a flexible steel shaft — from a perch of 100 feet (later scaled down to 65 feet as she grew older).”

She did this until she was 82, y’all. 82!

Not only did Carla Wallenda survive 7 decades of performing perilous stunts, she also survived a recent appearance on the Steve Harvey show, which is really saying something.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading about her life; this wonderful obit (written by Sam Roberts) has its own impressively soaring lede:

“Carla Wallenda, who spent seven decades with both her head and her feet in the clouds (or close to them) as a member of the Flying Wallendas aerial act, died on Saturday in Sarasota, Fla.”

Come on — that is good stuff.

Here is Carla Wallenda's obit, from the NYT

Royals V Meghan:

I don’t have much fresh to say about Sunday night’s 2-hour interview with Meghan and Harry (broadcast on CBS), except to note that, as someone who lived in England for several years and is a fairly interested Royal-watcher (I’d score a 7/10 in the International Rabidly-Royal-Watching scale), NOTHING SURPRISED ME.

Oprah (who did a stunning job), WAS surprised, however — at the degree of Royal racism Meghan experienced. Oprah’s honest and stunned reaction to Meghan’s disclosure was my favorite moment of the interview, and the “WHAT?!” heard round the world.

Heartbreaking Works of Staggering Genius:

One of my favorite art spaces is The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. This stunning and elegant space contains vast collections of “outsider art” — art created by non-professionals, usually with “found” materials. On one visit to the museum, I was captivated by the minute and intricate weavings created by an incarcerated man. These pieces were so small (about 1 inch square) that they were displayed in a magnifying box, and they were all made from single threads pulled from a pair of sox.

I am happy to see the work of incarcerated people given comprehensive treatment in a fascinating and moving photo essay by Leslie Jamison in a recent issue of The Atlantic. The sculpture below typifies what draws me to outsider art; it is intricate and layered, displaying painstaking craftsmanship using materials the rest of us would throw away (below: cigarette pack foil, used tea bags, held together with straight pins).

More importantly, “outsider” art creates imaginary worlds within worlds, telling sometimes fantastical but always emotionally authentic stories, which often convey the heart’s most powerful yearnings.

“Spiz’s Dinette,” by Dean Gillespie (1998)

Read the full story in The Atlantic here

Department of: Back off, Ladies — He’s Mine!

Here’s my favorite recent story about a pastor telling wives how to wife. The secret is to do it like Melania:

Read the story here — with all of its glorious details, in the New York Times.

Here’s a quote from the pastor, who is now “seeking counseling”:

“I’m not saying every woman can be the epic, the epic trophy wife of all time, like Melania Trump,” Mr. Clark says, adding, “Maybe you’re a participation trophy.” He went on to discourage women from wearing sweatpants, flip-flops and pajamas, saying: “That ain’t going to work. Ain’t nothing attractive about that.”

(For a beautiful bonus, here is a screenshot of epic participation trophy winner Stewart-Allen Clark, the pastor, as he was delivering his sermon. Note: terrifying presence of both acoustic AND electric guitar in the background)

Laura Recommends:

My friend Laura knows a lot about a lot of things. Her very long career at NPR (where we met, 25 years ago) and multi-night win on Jeopardy are testament to her smarts.

But Laura also always seems to just know about the best STUFF. Like — if Oprah was on a budget and lived in Kansas, Laura’s recommendations might be some of her “favorite things.”

This week, Laura goes postal:

One of the great unsung heroes of photography and graphic design is the humble POSTCARD.

I buy them all the time just to have on hand. Here in the pandemic age, I've taken up the habit of grabbing one and writing a short, to-the-point note to a friend and popping it in the mail right away. Who doesn't love getting a postcard? Thirty-six cents to brighten up someone's day? I can't think of a better deal. (Though I usually just throw a Forever stamp on there and eat the 19 cent overage. Hang in there, USPS!) 

Put up something that makes you happy, that you think is interesting, that reminds you of a place you liked, or a place you'd like to go. Keep a batch on hand for when you feel like redecorating but are overwhelmed by the cost.. It's a little change you can make for practically nothing. 

“I have a ton of unusual (read: odd) postcards sitting around because I am a supporter of The Public Domain Review, just about my favorite site on the internet, which collects public domain images, stories, photos and so forth. Its (brilliant) writers give you the rundown on whatever odd or fascinating thing they're focusing on in each issue. Highly recommended. If you support the project at 1a certain level, they'll send you a pile of postcards with some of the images they've come across. 

“I made this display area out of a long frame, some burlap and some chicken wire (full disclosure: I saw one in a store and thought "that's a great idea but there is no way I'm paying 30 bucks for that" so I came home and made my own on a spring weekend). It's mounted in my kitchen over the sink to break up the monotony of the backsplash. I hang up postcards with little clothespins I got at a craft store and switch the cards out frequently. If they get wet, no big deal. It's just a postcard.”  

{Like Laura, I have a long-time love of post cards, but my collections (I have a few, scattered in different rooms) consist solely of postcards sent to me — some, from Laura! I love to mix, match, re-read, and play with them.}

Below is a photo of my own desk — (The framed cork board I use came from Walmart).

[Laura Lorson is a news editor, radio producer and broadcast announcer. She lives in northeastern Kansas with her husband, a Great Pyrenees dog, and a lot of books and records.]

I highly recommend that you follow Laura on Twitter @prairielaura

Self-helping

What I did for Amy this week:

I played hooky and spent an afternoon skiing! I highly recommend both: hooky, and flying down a snowy hill.

Thank goodness I wasn't chased down the hill by a bear... like THIS guy

I’m so happy to have gathered so many new subscribers! Thank you all. If you like this offering, I hope you’ll share it with others.

As a thank you, I offer you one more glimpse of Molly.