Posts Tagged ‘Valentine’s Day’

Happy Valentine’s Day! According to my husband, today is just another Hallmark holiday. But last night, as I was helping the Pumpkin finish his class Valentine’s day cards – a chore he did not relish btw – I thought about love in all its guises. I knew there was a certain girl who gave a certain 1st Grader butterflies in his tummy, but how does that initial attraction lead to true love later in life? And does everyone have a soul mate?

First, we have good old fashioned Lust; your eyes meet and your knees buckle. We’ve all been there. Although when I got my first kiss on the Kindergarten bus, I was less than overwhelmed. Scientists tell us that Lust usually fades after six months or so. Hence the serial monogamist, that person who falls in and out of love every year. It’s like having an addiction to adrenalin. Needless to say, not very good marriage material.

After the initial attraction, comes Obsession. That period where you stop eating and sleeping and all you can do is think about ‘the other’ all the time. When I first went off to college, I would sometimes “see” Bob on a sidewalk in Boston. I knew he was at Duke in North Carolina in my head, but my heart wanted him to be with me. It’s like being a tiny bit crazy, this phase of love. It’s a critical time – either your star-crossed illusion wears off, or you commit to each other.

Finally we have long term Attachment, ie marriage and all that entails. Not everyone is cut out for this kind of loyalty. Bob and I have been together for over 40 years now! But in the animal kingdom, only 5% of all mammals in the world practice monogamy. Surprisingly, 90% of birds are socially or sexually monogamous!

“Albatrosses mate for life, often after spending years—even decades—finding the right mate. To find a mate, they perform an elaborate dancing ritual that is unique to each bonded pair… I am blown away by how unique each of these dances really is. Once bonded, albatrosses spend very little time together, as most of their time is spent alone out at sea; but the time they do spend together tends to be filled with affection and cuddles.”


Bob took tango lessons with me a number of years ago, and if that’s not true love what is? But going on three years of pandemic/inspired, isolationist/sheltering in place with our beloved, many of us would like to break free… just a little. Can we just have some ALONE time like the albatross? I for one, need time to sit and write alone, to paint alone, to just BE. And surprise surprise, I am NOT alone in this deficit of alone time, it’s called, “aloneliness,” the opposite of loneliness.

Allowing someone 24 hours of rest, or even just a few hours of undisturbed time with themselves, “can change the way they can show up for others,” said Nedra Tawwab, a therapist in Charlotte, N.C., and author of “Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself.” ‘Many parents don’t have the downtime needed to restore themselves. It’s restorative to do nothing, and to be granted the ability to do nothing is a loving act.'”


If you’ve been having “too much of a good thing” with a partner working from home in the next room, I wish you a small stab at solitude this Valentine’s Day. And maybe a walk to the local chocolate shop! https://temperedfinechocolates.com/

My first two Valentines

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Happy Valentine’s Day people!

Who doesn’t love a good romantic story? There was a time when I’d devour the coveted wedding announcements in the Vows Section of the Sunday New York Times, but now I read the digital version of “Modern Love.” If you haven’t discovered the Style Section of the Times, you’re in for a treat!

“A series of weekly reader-submitted essays that explore the joys and tribulations of love.”

Currently the paper is accepting submissions of “tiny love stories” of 100 words or less. The last one was a tale as old as friendship – one woman gets married and has a child, the other doesn’t. The single woman wonders if she’ll lose her best friend, especially as the coronavirus began to spread. But on a Zoom call, she sees the toddler crawling through a doggie door and realizes the baby is just as weird as they are! How could she be jealous?

While trying to avoid watching the fore-ordained Impeachment Trial, I happened to read about another weird love story playing out in the Politics Section. My two favorite things combined! It seems a Nashville native, TJ Ducklo, who was a deputy press secretary in Joe Biden’s White House, just resigned his position yesterday over claims that he verbally harangued a female Politico reporter who was working on a story about his love life.

“Per Vanity Fair, in January, Palmeri — who is a co-author of Politico’s Playbook — was assigned to report out a story that fits neatly into her beat: the then-unreported relationship between Ducklo and Axios political reporter Alexi McCammond, and the ethical questions it raised. On January 20, Palmeri contacted McCammond for comment, while one of her male colleagues reached out to Ducklo for the same. Things escalated rapidly. After Ducklo received the message, he called a Playbook editor to voice his disapproval, and was directed to speak with the reporters themselves. Rather than call the man who contacted him, Ducklo reached out to Palmeri and allegedly lashed out.


To be fair, both Ducklo and his girlfriend Alexi McCammond told their bosses as soon as their relationship turned serious and McCammond was switched from the Biden beat to Kamala Harris and other Progressive legislators. Also, Ducklo had just finished chemo treatment for stage four lung cancer. He also thought the conversation he had with Palmeri was off-the-record, still he allegedly said, “I will destroy you,” and told her she was just jealous of McCammond.

It’s strange how my feminism plays out in a situation like this; my initial reaction was, “Good”, because when the news first broke at Friday’s WHPresser, Jen Psaki told reporters that he would be suspended for one week without pay. A day later he’s quitting, and I’m thinking why do Democrats have such high moral standards when Mr T could get away with literal murder? Oh, and what about Mr T’s sexual harassment charges – 26 incidents of “unwanted sexual contact,” and 43 instances of “inappropriate behavior!”

Ah the joys and tribulations of amour. In my hundred word essay, I’d write about Bob getting the Keurig ready to go every morning before I get up. I pull out my mug that says, “Mrs ALWAYS Right” (a gift from a dear Italian friend – Bob’s mug says “Mr Right”) and never have to fill up the water chamber. He also keeps the pantry full with my special Starbucks French Roast pods. Every morning I think to myself, he must love me!

We’ll be staying put today since an ice storm is coming. Stay weird, warm and safe with your loved ones, the two and four legged varieties, and a very Happy Cupid Day and Year of the Ox. This was us at Bob’s 40th birthday party, a come as you were in the 60s affair of the heart.

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I’m a real pushover. When I was little, Daddy Jim presented me with a big heart-shaped box of chocolates, and that was that. Every year, I was his Valentine. We didn’t have candy, or ice cream in the house, I had a no-nonsense upbringing. But on rare, special occasions Nell would bake a cake. And except for Halloween, Valentine’s Day was the bomb!

Of course I tried to replicate that feeling for my young family. The hearts, the cards, the whole shebang. I even became a crafter, cutting out little Valentine cards for their schoolmates. Unfortunately, Bob thought of this date in February as a “Hallmark Holiday.” Oh he could be romantic alright, but nobody was going to tell him when, where or how he could show the world he was mine. Or I was his? Whatever. I mentioned it was his iconoclastic nature that first appealed to me right?

Not being a sexist, I proudly took on the mantle of celebrator-in-chief for Love.

Well this year he will be working on Valentine’s Day. I said it might be like that reality show, “Sex Sent Me to the ER.” Granted we don’t watch a lot of reality TV around here, not counting the Voice of course, but I did happen to see an episode or two of Er Sex. And it is pretty funny. http://www.buzzfeed.com/scottybryan/sex-sent-me-to-er-should-be-your-new-favourite-tv-guilty-ple#.kk9B79Awwa

Of all the sexcapades Bob has come across over the years, the one that sticks in my mind was the older man who was brought in by ambulance from a motel, naked and unconscious, after suffering a cardiac arrest during coitus. The older woman who came in with him was answering questions for the staff, until the actual wife waltzed in and took over. Needless to say, the emergency department in that cold Berkshire winter started heating up with gossip!

Years ago, we were in California at an EM conference when I met two of the producers of    “Untold Stories of the ER” in a hotel bar. We really hit it off. When they heard Bob was a Director, they wanted to meet him and see if he’d be interested in participating in their new reality show. Come to think of it, they must have been trolling for ER docs. When Bob and his colleagues showed up, they had some fun talking about the possibilities, after which Bob said, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

Here are a few things to avoid over Valentine’s weekend:

Try staying out of the ER;

Keep crafting to a minimum; and

Remember if you screw up, there’s always President’s Day!



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What d’ya know! We actually did get a foot and a half of snow just in time for Valentine’s Day, and the next day it was sunny and melting. Unfortunately, I gave away my beloved cross country skis a long time ago, the pair I had kept in a sacred shrine in a NJ garage. In the Berkshires, I would just strap them on and take off into the trails behind our farmhouse at the edge of a bird sanctuary. Eventually, I gave up hope. We just never got enough snow at the Shore to matter, and I figured that moving to VA would be the end of my snow sporting days. Little did I know.

We do have a small ski resort here in Central VA. Really, I was surprised too. Wintergreen is where some people will go for the weekend with their kids and snowshoes and skates. It’s one county over, and a few miles higher in elevation, a short car ride although we’ve never been. I guess when you come from a landscape that was filled with snow and winter activities, the idea of actually paying for fun in the snow – snow that was mostly manufactured anyway – just wasn’t the same. And let’s face it, our knees are a bit rusty too. Still, watching athletes compete in Sochi…

I have to ask, what makes somebody want to hurtle themselves down an icy track at 60 miles per hour, face-down on a sled the size of an old iPad? The Skeleton, kinda crazy right? But it was one of those events, like car accidents, you can’t seem to stop watching. And the US beating Russia in Ice Hockey, brilliant! But Figure Skating left me switching over to House of Cards on Netflix. Now that was a rush, holey moley. Frank Underwood is the newest Soprano-like villain; a man you love to hate.  

I celebrated Valentine’s Day last night with my man, since he was working on Cupid’s night. He shoveled a path to the grill and we had an amazing dinner; some surf and turf, some cauliflower gobi with sourdough bread and of course Ben and Jerry played a supporting role at the end. We Virginians also celebrated a major victory in marriage equality. Our 2006 ban on same-sex marriage was struck down by a woman judge on Valentine’s eve: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2014/02/virginia-same-sex-marriage-ban-ruled-unconstitutional.html For a state that was supposed to be “For Lovers” and made its name in history by finally ruling that interracial marriage was in fact, constitutional, it was poetic justice.

Judge Allen began her opinion by quoting Mildred Loving, the plaintiff in the famous Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia, which declared bans on interracial marriage unconstitutional, and went on to quote Abraham Lincoln, who said, “It can not have failed to strike you that these men ask for just … the same thing—fairness, and fairness only. This, so far as in my power, they, and all others, shall have.” She then applied his message to same-sex couples: “The men and women, and the children too, whose voices join in noble harmony with Plaintiffs today, also ask for fairness, and fairness only. This, so far as it is in this Court’s power, they and all others shall have.”  

Thank you Judge Arenda Allen! VA joins the progressive march to freedom for lovers everywhere. Proving it’s not who you sleep with, but the slow, sleepwalking pace of justice that will win in the end. So there you go Putin.  



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We are traveling again. Can you tell where we’ve landed?

Touchdown makes Bob laugh

Birds and builders compete for attention

Vaval has been burned on the beach

Colors of the sea range from indigo to periwinkle

La cuisine est magnifique

Oops, did I give it away? Time is standing still here. The people are the most welcoming of any island paradise. It’s a place to slow down and breathe, read, knit, swim, and refresh ourselves. Thank you for my Valentine’s flowers.



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I have not got my divas mixed up. This is one of my favorite Tina songs, my generation’s “Rolling in the Deep.” What’s love got to do with it? On this Valentine’s Day, amid all the saccharin sweetness, I’m reminded of the underbelly of passion; about breaking up, breaking hearts and spirits in the process. When the news broke about Whitney, some talked about her demons, her drugs, but I thought about her ex. You stay with your codependent, coaddicted, abusive partner too long, and you sink into the abyss. Whitney, you really could have had it all.

In the Yeardley Love murder trial, the jury has been hearing evidence from the medical examiner. This beautiful girl, tried breaking away from George Huguley. They lived in the same area, right up the street from a favorite bar, both played lacrosse for UVA, and had an “on again, off again” relationship for the last two years of college. It’s too simple to blame alcohol for his brutal attack, for the bruises on Love’s neck and the bleeding in her brain. We also can’t blame the victim, as the defense is trying to do, to reveal a justification for smashing in her door and smashing her head on a wall – was he jealous, did she take too much adderall? This is unconscionable in my book.

At some point we all grow up and take responsibility for our actions. In a perfect world, date violence could never happen. The girl says “No,” the boy says, “OK.” The first time the boy slams her into a locker, or puts a choke hold on her neck, the girl says, “So Long, See Ya, Goodbye.” But what’s happening to our girls in college? These young women grew up under Title IX, they work hard and play hard. They are under tremendous pressure to compete on the playing field, make the grades, AND look beautiful/thin/happy all at the same time. The Center for Collegiate Mental Health (CCMH) cites nearly one third of all students are seeking mental health counseling.

Sometimes a peer-run group can do a better job at catching those students who don’t seek out counseling. Yeardley Love’s friends and team mates must have felt tremendous guilt after her killing. We always ask ourselves what we might have done. Did someone hear her pleading? Should I have called her Mother? Was she not eating and sleeping normally? To Write Love on Her Arms http://www.twloha.com/ is a non-profit that seeks to help people with anxiety, depression, self-injury and body dysmorphic disorders. It has charters on many college campuses, in fact there is one at UVA. So if you think your roomie is suicidal – or drinking too much and blacking out – or being abused by her boyfriend, instead of doing nothing, you can gently engage them in this charity. Fostering empathy and compassion in a booze-fueled, fast-paced, “hook-up” culture is a good thing.

Whitney we will always love you. Tina you will always inspire me to dance like no one is watching. And Yeardley our community will remember you always. And to all you lonely hearts out there, Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to suck! Buy yourself some tulips, spring is right around the corner.

A Valentine Breakfast

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