… twenty …


Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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40 Responses

  1. Avatar Chris says:

    Happy anniversary to you both.Report

  2. Avatar greginak says:


  3. Avatar Kazzy says:

    Mazel mazel mazel!!!Report

  4. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Dude! Awesome! Congrats!Report

  5. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    The ring is a piece of metal with a stone in it. This was a lesson I had to learn the hard way.

    When my wife and I got engaged, I had just won a pretty big case and had some cash to burn and did all sorts of awesome jewelry shopping and found an amazing diamond and haggled for it and then I had it set and it was valuable and huge. And the truth I came to learn later was that she actually didn’t like it all that much; the gem was awkward and she kept hitting it on things because she wasn’t used to something of that size on her hands. But on our honeymoon, she bought a ring that looks actually rather like @knittingniki’s, with the very small stones — they may even be CZ rather than actual diamonds — inset so the ring is flush and flat against her finger. The way that we wound up getting there is a whole story unto itself, with the moral of the story being that I learned to follow her instructions on things that matter to her and happiness results therefrom.

    Later on in life, we fell on some difficult financial times, and the pricey ring with the big rock had to go away. I knew there was no real choice in the matter under those circumstances, but still I resisted. I’d bought in to all of the folderol about the ring and the diamond needing to be expensive and showy and how it was somehow magically the overt symbol of our love and our marriage. Which my wife, ever wiser than I, never bought into; she said that she would have resisted parting with the more modest ring, because we’d found and bought it together. To her the ring was just a thing and divesting ourselves of it was simply something we had to do at the time. After being depressed about it for a while, I absorbed the lesson and have not felt an impulse, now that we’re back up on our feet in terms of money, to replace it with an equivalent. I’d much rather she kept the ring we bought together on the honeymoon, because its modesty in price and stature is not nearly so important as the memory of how we found it.

    So, in this touching and sweet love letter, I say that you apologize far, far too much for the ring. The ring is a piece of metal with some stones in it. If it seems a paltry symbol for something much bigger and infinitely more precious, that’s because it is.

    Alsotoo, forgot to include that you and your wife have built a fantastic home together. I mean, yes, your boys certainly deserve a more prominent mention than that. But making a home is no small thing, either.

    Many congratulations, from the Likko household to yours.Report

    • Avatar Road Scholar says:

      We actually went together to pick ours out. She ended up with one of those sets that’s basically just the diamond solitaire for engagement and then another ring that locks together with it and has some embellishment to create the wedding ring. Real pretty but not terribly practical. It’s not like it was huge or anything but it caught on everything and it was kind of a PITA. So when the setting got loose and one of the prongs fell off and she almost lost the rock, we had it reset in a different ring where the stone ended up flush with the surface so it didn’t stick up.

      Thing is now neither one of us regularly wear our rings. She can’t wear it for work and mine doesn’t fit very well because my finger got fat the gold shrunk. It’s not like we need to prove or advertise that we’re married anymore.

      Somewhere in there is probably some profound metaphor for how a relationship matures over the years. Or maybe just a not-terribly interesting story. Dunno.Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      Congrats Todd! This fall is our 20th as well.

      My wife & I picked out her ring together. It was a small stone, but of excellent quality. She actually hardly wears it anymore. Some years ago she got a simpler band with some Moissanite stones that she wears daily. Cost less & she isn’t as worried about it if it gets damaged or lost.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      Thanks for that, Burt. I know well that you as well as I got very lucky in the “amazing spouse” lottery of life.Report

  6. Avatar Anne says:

    Happy Anniversary My Tod and Knittiningniki! and to the many more in your future. If you will excuse me I have to go get something out of my eye…..sniffReport

  7. Avatar Johanna says:

    Congrats to both of you!Report

  8. Avatar Saul Degraq says:

    Happy Anniversary. I’ll take an IOU on rounds 🙂Report

  9. Avatar aaron david says:

    Congratulations Knittingniki and Tod!Report

  10. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Mazel tov and many happy returns.Report

  11. Avatar Road Scholar says:

    Congrats, Tod & Niki! Twenty is when you look at your spouse and think, “Wow. This relationship might be getting serious! ” 😉

    Seems like just yesterday for us. My love was pregnant at the time and that child is now in fifth grade. Time flies (sheesh, how cliche is that??).Report

  12. Avatar zic says:

    Congratulations Niki and Tod.

    Twenty years of marriage, particularly marriage where there is still love and trust, is a wonderful accomplishment. Nobody ever proposed, we just sort of kept talking about marriage, and (after three years,) decided it would be a good thing to do. No engagement ring, the cheapest wedding band we could find, and a ceremony in the yard of the house we were renting at the time, my mom, sister, and I made the food. For our honeymoon, we went swimming, and both to work on Monday. A very humble start for what’s proved a richly rewarding life together.

    We have one thing in common with our marriages: we took risks, career risks, pursuing fulfilling work over financial security. Oddly, that seems to have been a better path to financial security.

    And thus far, the hardest part has been from me, from my physical aging and menopause. I got to that age just as the medical community decided HRT for menopausal woman was the worst thing in the world. (I will not be surprised if there’s a spike in divorce then, either, though I haven’t checked statistics.) That physical change was long and difficult that I suffered migraine so bad that for almost a year, I could hardly speak; and the it was difficult for my husband to comprehend that this wasn’t about him or how I felt about him; but my body preparing for the next phase of life, not riding a cyclical hormone roller coaster. It takes time, but it does pass, and when I look back, life seems much more even-keeled now. I’m glad we stuck it out, we nearly didn’t many times. And for any couple, filled with love and time together, I encourage the same patience, though for some couples it tries patience beyond what seems endurable.

    Wishing you bot many blessings to come. Much joy as you entwine your lives together.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      @zic “We have one thing in common with our marriages: we took risks, career risks, pursuing fulfilling work over financial security. Oddly, that seems to have been a better path to financial security.” I’m not so sure that’s odd. I think it might actually be the key.

      And I’m glad to see that you and your husband stuck it out through the rough patches.Report

  13. Congratulations, Tod and knittingniki! This post was something special even for the special genre to which it belongs.Report

  14. Avatar dragonfrog says:

    Congratulations to you both!

    At one point during our engagement, Fledermaus mentioned to me that she would have been pretty angry if I had wasted money that wasted any kind of real money on an engagement ring. Fortunately I was never at any risk during those years of being able to afford one.Report

  15. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    Congratulations on a most excellent start! There are still lots of exciting (and anxiety-invoking) things to come. I won’t say how much ahead of you my wife and I are, but enough for a whole new set of things.Report

  16. Avatar Maria says:

    I don’t often comment on the posts here, so I don’t really feel like a part of the “community”, but I have to say that was one of the most touching odes to marriage I have ever read. Congratulations to you and your wife and I raise a glass (okay, a bottle of beer) to you both and wish you many more years of happiness and fulfillment.

    And on the ring? She loves it because it is from you. Full stop. My husband and I looked at rings in a jewelry shop once after he proposed. Once. I just couldn’t fathom paying so much for a ring and I suggested we ask our families if we had any heirlooms we could mooch…I mean have. We ended up with my Grandmother’s engagement ring from the ’30s. Tiny diamond, but so much more meaningful than anything we could have purchased.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      Well you’re part now, so comment more.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      Let me echo @chris and express our hopes we’ll hear more from you soon, @maria . I know @tod-Kelly would love an anniversary present of a new commenter in our community!Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      @maria A couple of things:

      Thank you very much for your kind words, and for sharing your own ring story.

      I agree with Chris and Burt: I very much do hope that you continue to comment here.

      And for whatever it’s worth, my own personal take is that the people who come here to read and never or rarely comment are just as much of our community as everyone else.Report

  17. Avatar greginak says:

    Good video from Cracked re: jewelery and engagement rings. It expresses the Correct View shared by all Good People.Report

  18. Avatar Maribou says:

    Happy anniversary, and (knocks on wood) may the next twenty be as resplendent!Report

  19. Avatar CK MacLeod says:

    People with lives kind of gross me out, but I admit I found this post touching. In other words, it filled me with envy and pain. It complements “The Second Second Date Story,” rtod’s piece about his parents’ marriage, which I happened to run across just the other day and read for the first time while rummaging around site statistics. (The Second Second Date Story is the 3rd most viewed post in the modern era of ordinary sites, 2011-present, beaten out only by a chili recipe and a doctor’s assessment of patient Bruce Wayne.)Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      (The Second Second Date Story is the 3rd most viewed post in the modern era of ordinary sites, 2011-present, beaten out only by a chili recipe and a doctor’s assessment of patient Bruce Wayne.)

      To be filed away under things I should consider when debating “Will Leaguesters actually be interested in this?”Report

      • Avatar CK MacLeod says:

        No, file it under “what internet users will find.” I think the best proxy for “what Leaguesters find interesting (at least to talk about)” is # of comments – which is info that can also be collected, though is not currently being collected by any application. Eventually, if we make registration an option (tbd), we might be able to break out “most viewed by registrati” vs “most viewed by hoi polloi.” Facebook-like “likes” or some other rating system might also be a possibility

        As to the above top 3 vieweds, people searching for chili recipes, or specifically ground beef chili recipes, will stumble upon that post frequently. It’s around the 7th most viewed post on the site every day. Bruce Wayne also obviously has his own following. I haven’t tried looking into the history of that post, but it would take only a link or two at a major Dark Knight aficionado site to launch it into the most-viewed stratosphere.

        There’s almost always a “reasonable explanation” for why a post gets unusually popular as measured by views. Rtod may know how it happened with the 2nd date story, but, on the single biggest day in the Modern Ordinary Era, it appears to have picked up ca. 20,000 of its over 30,000 views via Reddit. On the other hand, it’s simply a very high quality post, regardless of how many views it also happens to have picked up, and the same could be said about the Wayne post, by Russell Saunders, and the chili post, by Sam Wilkinson. (I’ve never tried out the recipe, but I have frequently considered the possibility.)Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        I sent the Bruce Wayne link to Jonathan Last because I knew it was the sort of thing he would be interested. he linked to it and it got some attention on conservative sites. Sully linked to it after a day or two, and as you can imagine it exploded after that.Report

      • Avatar CK MacLeod says:

        What true Leaguesters email to Major Digerati is also a pretty good proxy for what Leaguesters find interesting. (Also, readers who want to “give back” to a writer, or boost the popularity or profile of the site and therefore of its main participants, should learn from your example, for example by making a habit of using social links at the bottom of posts. My guess is only a small minority of users have ever used them even once.)Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        @ck-macleod @will-truman A few thoughts:

        ** I actually think the tipping point for Russell’s post was when i09 linked to it. (And of course it didn’t hurt that the thing was simply fantastic.) Sam’s success seems to have come from Google and people wanting to make chili. There was never a page-view spike on that story; it just gets a strong handful of views every freaking day. (And it too is helped by being fantastic; it might be the most highly-entertaining-to-read chili recipe in the history of the universe.)

        ** There might well be a “reasonable explanation” for posts that do well, but for me that has only ever worked in hindsight. Over my years here I have noticed that a reasonable explanation for Post X will be just as applicable to Post Y, yet each will yield very different results.

        ** The posts the get the most comments tend to either be ones where there is an opinion where a strong opinion is required AND there is no way to ever hash out who is wring and who is right. I’m going off cobwebbed memory here, but I want to say that our three most commented posts were about what should and shouldn’t be free speech, how much gun control we should or shouldn’t have, and what ten albums we should have on a road trip.Report

      • Avatar CK MacLeod says:


        To continue straying off-topic, the chili post also probably benefits from a bit of (well-deserved) “famous-for-being-famous.” Search engines, especially Google, are supposedly continually re-mixing their search-ranking cocktails, but there’s inevitably an element of “more people visit” -> “higher ranking” -> “more people visit” -> “higher ranking.”

        It also helps a site, and its offerings, if its content in general is continually being updated, which is obviously no problem here. All the same, the site’s popularity has slipped somewhat in both relative and absolute terms over the last couple of years. I wonder if you have any stats on the 2009-11 epoch – was it at the same URL? Having just re-read the evolution of the site post – https://ordinary-times.com/blog/2011/11/18/a-blogosphere-built-for-two-or-three-or-four-or-five – I realize that I’ve been laboring under the possible misapprehension that “the League” existed in some recognizable form prior to 2009. I may have had it confused with other leagues. Someday, someone who knows should record and transcribe a pre-history of the site, too.

        Now, on comments, you write: “The posts the get the most comments tend to either be ones where there is an opinion where a strong opinion is required AND there is no way to ever hash out who is wrong and who is right.”

        It’s easy to draw the conclusion from observations like that that “big” comment threads are pointless, since they consist of trying to solve unsolvable or finally philosophical questions to no clear purpose, but I think that’s a bit like saying that horse races are pointless because the horses and jockeys all end up where they began, and are just running around the same tracks all day long, day after day. Or chess matches are pointless because all or most of the moves with trivial exceptions have been made before, that players just start another game after they’re done, and so on.

        It’s not that conversations are “only” games or diversions, but they can also be game-like and diverting, and can at minimum make for good mental exercise for participants. Sometimes, when the participants are good at what they do, they may be entertaining to observe, and also rewarding as “exercise” for observers. The same can be said for philosophical discussions, even or especially of the “how many angels can dance on a pin” variety. Not everything has to serve a clear instrumental purpose to be of value. I think also that, if you look closer, the busy comment threads are often busy because participants, if for reasons obscure to many observers, are chewing on specific matters of high interest to them, ones that they may at a later point convert into something either of greater general interest or of high “specialist” interest. For my own part, adversarial discussion with commenters and author-commenters at this site – which may have looked like pointlessly contentious angel-counting to uninvolved observers – produced many of my own most well-received posts at my own site.

        In short, what people get out of enterprises like this one, or out of intellectual exchange in general, is itself a major unsolvable question of that same type. To say it’s uninteresting because unsolvable is close to saying that what’s actually interesting to people isn’t actually interesting to people.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        Comment counts are frustrating things. Back in the subblog days, I wrote an MD post analyzing and defining the concept of NFL dynasties. It required literally days of data-crunching . A couple of weeks later, I invested five minutes in listing my 10 favorite sitcoms. The first post garnered 5 comments; the second, 123.Report

      • Avatar CK MacLeod says:


        A post that’s too “sound” will often get nodding acceptance or virtual equivalent. (Maybe instead of “likes,” we could have “nodding acceptances.”) A post that starts a conversation may not have much intrinsic value or much recognized intrinsic value, and hardly even be referenced or recalled by participants in the comment thread, who may really be commenting on each other’s comments, just like us now here, not on the post – which’s why you can begin from the assumption that comments are just posts in a different data table, and vice versa. Some commenting systems give commenters the option of adding titles to their comments, which closes the visual presentation gap even more. In a developed system, qualified users (higher level registrati) would be able more or less instantly, or anyway easily, to convert a comment into a “real” post, and bring its subthread with it. So, commenters would comment under the prospect of being converted into (revealed as) bloggers at any moment. No doubt would scare a few away, but would be an incentive for others.Report