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No More "Vanilla" Marriage

By Bob on August 3, 2011 2:21 AM

I've got a confession: I loooooove being an empty-nester. When Cole went off to college, Charlotte and I were a little apprehensive about what we'd do in that big ol' empty house in Collywood. As it turns out, we found plenty of things to occupy our time.

We faced some immediate challenges that tested us - my fall off a 12' ladder and the three orthopedic surgeries that followed...then there was C's battle with breast cancer which came with surgery, chemotherapy and the full complement of side effects. Through it all, we learned a lot about ourselves and that includes S.E.X **Charlotte's hands are now sweating**. The most important lesson we learned was to be flexible - not Mary-Lou-Retton-gymnastic-sex flexible - but the ability to adapt when crap comes your way and have FUN doing it.  


Charlotte even came up with a kind of "mantra" that we still use: "Just because it's different, doesn't mean it's bad." That open-minded idea has opened doors (yes, even bedroom doors) and it's helped deepen our relationship as a couple and become one of the main reasons why I love being an empty nester so much.


It's easy to fall into the "vanilla" marriage trap - and if that's your favorite flavor, enjoy! But, we thought it'd be fun to ask an expert his opinion on how Boomers can make the very best of their empty nest. So, we went to Rich Woods, author of Unlearn Vanilla Marriage and asked him to share some ideas.  


No More Vanilla Marriage Cover - 275.jpgNo More Vanilla Marriage

by Richard Woods


Recently two friends asked me to be the tie-breaker in a discussion about whether life began at birth, or conception.


My reply? "Neither, life begins when the kids move out of the house!"


Jokes aside, when we Boomers remember our teens most of us couldn't wait for our parents to go out so we could have the house to ourselves. But now, we're mom and dad. The house is -- or soon will be -- ours again. So the question is, "What do we do?" Here are three suggestions that'll add some flavor to a plain vanilla marriage.


Ditch the Guilt

It may not always occur to every boomer, but rather than relegating ourselves to golf and the garden club, we have an opportunity to take the freedom of an empty nest and turn it into a second lease on our sex lives. The house is ours to romp around in again. There's nothing shameful about such behavior, but there are a few things that hold boomers back from enjoying this time of our lives - namely, guilt.


Guilt, can be very powerful. There's often a hesitation on behalf of loving parents who have provided strong roots for their grown children to let them fly on their own. It's only natural. But if we really want to provide an invaluable gift for our adult children, we need to set an example. Do we want them to feel that when they turn our age their lives will be about attending to their kids? Or do we want them to look forward to this time in their lives? We owe it to them to be loving and happy boomers and a big part of that is getting back in our sexual groove.


Tell the Truth

Another vital component to enjoying our sexuality at this age is to engage in honest dialogue about our turn-ons. Make a pact with your significant other that you're both going to be honest and proudly proclaim your "kinky" side. At this point in our lives, we should have all figured out there's a lot of happy, loving couples who exhibit intimate affection for one another in a variety of ways. The trick is to not be judgmental towards one another when we are bearing our souls. A fun, healthy sex life is paramount to a terrific relationship. We shouldn't be embarrassed by confiding our libidinous inclinations with one another and we shouldn't be ashamed to indulge them.


Don't be Afraid. It's only S.E.X.

We have all had sex (The children are usually a dead giveaway!) Yet many of us treat sex as if it's something decent people don't do. Denying our intimate inclinations and sexually exiling ourselves to pacify other people's perception of us is just plain crazy.   


Although many of us won't admit it, the last of our children leaving the nest marks the first day of the rest of our sex lives. The truth is an empty nest should mean that the party can start. If we permit ourselves the indulgence, we can do things better, and have more fun this time around. If we allow ourselves the luxury, this can be the best sex and the best time of our lives.


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Guest Room

Diabetes-Friendly Chicken Burrito Bowl

ChickenBurritoBowlEverydayDiabetes 600.jpg

By Laura Cipullo and Lisa Mikus, authors of Everyday Diabetes Meals
Image credit: Colin Erricson

Prepare your own Mexican quick fix with this Chipotle-inspired bowl. Carbs are moderated by filling the bowl with beans, extra veggies and chicken. No need for rice, since the beans count as carbs.


If you love tomatoes, increase the quantity to 1/2 cup, but note that the carbohydrates will also increase.

If preparing this recipe for one person, cut all of the ingredients in half. Or simply prepare the full recipe up to the end of step 2 and store leftover chicken and vegetable-bean mixture in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in the microwave on High for 1 to 2 minutes, or until heated through, and continue with step 3.

Health Bite: The iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc in black beans help to keep bones strong and healthy.

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Windy City

It's been almost 18 years since Alison Krauss gave us a solo album, but the wait is over with Windy City. The release (her fifth solo studio album) features ten covers of classic songs (and some bonus tracks) she picked with producer Buddy Cannon.

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