Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day

Weekly Wednesday Blogging Challenge: Most Romantic Memory

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s Top Ten Tuesday post, I am not a very romantic person. For example, my wonderful spouse and I have been together for going on 15 years now, yet we have never once celebrated Valentine’s Day. It’s simply not a holiday that appeals to either of us.

So you might not be surprised to hear that my most romantic memory has nothing to do with chocolates, jewelry, roses, or whispering sweet nothings into anyone’s ears.

Instead, it’s about wisdom teeth and what happens after you’ve had all four of them extracted in the same surgery. Let’s just say that I was swollen, in pain, dreaming about bizarre things, and loopy from the medications I’d been prescribed for the recovery process. At one point, I was convinced that I’d just seen a terse news broadcast about how Canada had stolen Alaska from the United States and refused to give it back again.

So along with typical, post-surgical tasks like making sure I took my pills at the right time and had soft food to eat until the stitches in my mouth could be removed, my spouse got to have what must have been a pretty funny conversation with me about how our country would definitely be returning Alaska to the Americans. I was not convinced at first that our government was going to be willing to do that, but he reassured me that all would be well in North America the next time I woke up. And it was.

The rest of my memories from those first few days after that surgery are pretty hazy. As soon as the latest dose of medicine finally kicked in, I’d slip in and out of sleep for hours. When the meds started wearing off and the pain grew stronger, I’d wake up enough to eat or drink something. At one point, I do remember being spoon-fed applesauce. It was more delicious than any applesauce I’ve had before or since then. I was so grateful to not have to do complicated stuff like hold the spoon or guide it into my mouth without spilling.

Falling in love is amazing, but long term relationships are about so much more than the butterflies you feel in the beginning. I think it’s a beautiful, romantic thing when people take good care of their spouses/life partners every day of the year, especially when it involves eating applesauce and convincing Canada to give up her thieving ways. 😉

How about all of you?

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Couples in Books

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

I’m not a romantic person in real life, and I don’t generally find myself that interested in romance novels or stories spend a lot of time talking about characters falling in love. (Y’all, how on Earth did I ever manage to get married? Ha!)

So this week’s list required some thought, and I was a little short of the full 10 books we were supposed to come up with once I finished it.  Honestly, I like it when blog hops make you think, though. It’s nice when you can automically come up with a dozen or more books to fit a Top Ten Tuesday theme, but there’s also something to be said for digging deeply to get one of these posts put together.

You’re going to see several friends-turned-lovers on today’s list. On the rare occasions that I get excited about a fictional romance, a friendship evolving into something more than that is often the biggest reason why I’m thrilled. Most of the people I’ve developed crushes on or fallen in love with have started out as friends first, so it’s always nice to see characters have that same wonderful experience.

1. Jo and Laurie from Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women.”

I really like it when characters who have similar personalities end up in flirtatious or romantic situations. Jo and Laurie not only acted a lot alike, they had some of the same flaws. That can be a good thing for certain couples! If you both struggle with the same bad habit, it can be easier to show empathy when your partner messes up in that area.

2. Alice and her partner in Claire Kann’s “Let’s Talk About Love.”

To the best of my knowledge, this was the first book about an asexual character I ever read. (I’m purposefully not mentioning her partner’s name for spoiler purposes). While there were parts of the plot I didn’t find so interesting, I was fascinated by the idea of someone having a romantic relationship without ever wanting to have sex with them. It’s not something that’s talked about very often in mainstream fiction, and I don’t know anyone in real life who is asexual to the best of my knowledge, so it’s nice to see an example of how these types of relationships work.

3. Ron and Hermione from the Harry Potter series. 

Most people seemed to think Hermione would end up with Harry. I personally assumed she’d end up with Ron’s wickedly intelligent older brother, Percy, because they were both so bookish in the very best sense of that term.

I do see the logic in Ron and Hermione ending up together, though, and I like the thought of them raising a couple of bright and probably terribly mischievous kids.

4. Annie and Liza from Nancy Garden’sAnnie on My Mind.”

There’s something about young love that’s always interesting to read. I developed crushes on others so rarely when I was in school that my dating history was almost non-existent until I was in my 20s. It was nice to read about girls who had a totally different adolescence than mine.

5. Anne and Gilbert from L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series. 

I did not like the thought of Anne and Gilbert dating when they were teenagers because of how fiercely competitive they were, but my opinion changed once they’d both had a chance to grow up and experience life a little more. They were both smart, compassionate, and very kind. I don’t know about all of you, but I always cheer at the thought of these sorts of folks ending up together.

6.Valancy and her partner in L.M. Montgomery’s “The Blue Castle.”

Once again, I can’t say who the main character ended up with for spoiler reasons, but I thought Valancy and her lover made a wonderful couple. Valancy’s life had been so drab, strictly controlled, and sometimes even peppered with emotional abuse when we first met her that this twist in her fate was a true breath of fresh air.

7. Josh and Emma from Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler’s “The Future of Us.”

Imagine getting glimpses of your possible futures through the Internet! I loved this premise just as much as I did trying to figure out if these two friends were actually going to one day end up together. The fact that it was set in the 90’s only made it better. There haven’t been too many contemporary stories set in that decade yet, so I’m happy whenever I find one.

8. Jane and Mr. Rochester from Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre.” 

The romantic subplot wasn’t one I knew about in advance because I read this book on my own for the sheer joy of it instead of  for a class assignment. Due to this, Jane’s relationship with Mr. Rochester came as a huge surprise to me. Her neglectful childhood was oddly a nice match for all of the troubles Mr. Rochester had been through. I hope they’d find some happiness in each other after all of the hard times they’d both know. There’s something so emotionally satisfying about that, don’t you think?

9. Ennis and Jack from Annie Proulx’s “Brokeback Mountain.”

I saw the film version of this tale long before reading the short story it was based on. Ennis and Jack’s gruff and pragmatic personalities worked so well together. They were perfect for each other. If only they’d live in a time and place where it was easier for two people of the same gender to share a life together.

What would you recommend I add to my list to bring it to up to 10 books? I tried so hard to think of one final couple, but I just couldn’t do it.

Minimalism and Valentine’s Day

After my last two posts, it might come as a surprise to some readers to be reminded that my spouse and I don’t actually celebrate Valentine’s Day. We’ve been married for over twelve years now, and we’ve never done anything out of the ordinary for this holiday other than possibly showing each other clever gifs and memes about it if we find some good ones.

No, this post isn’t going to be a rant against Valentine’s Day as a concept. I’m all for showing someone how you feel about them on February 14 as well as on every other day of the year. No one knows for sure how long they have left on this Earth, so I’d never discourage anyone from make their loved ones feel appreciated.  If celebrating Valentine’s Day in the traditional way with chocolates, flowers, jewelry, and a fancy dinner makes someone happy, good for them!

I believe in living a simple and minimalist lifestyle for myself, though. That belief sticks with me no matter what date is on the calendar or how much advertisers try to convince me to buy things I don’t need.

Minimizing Waste

 Buying something you have no use for is a waste of time, money, and emotional energy. Spending more than you would have spent if you waited a few more weeks to purchase the same exact product is equally wasteful.

Every year, I watch the price of romantic items like  flowers and chocolates rise sharply before Valentine’s Day only to fall back to their normal prices shortly after that holiday. For example, there is a fancy type of dairy-free chocolate I can eat that costs about $20 for a dozen pieces during most of the year. That same quantity of chocolate is sold in pretty boxes for about $25 during Valentine’s Day season.

These prices affect everyone who purchases these products, so it always surprises me to see people pay so little attention to them.

If you’re going to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a traditional way, why not buy silk flowers and pick out the card, wrapping paper, and other non-perishable stuff for next year when all of that paraphernalia goes on sale this year? Or, better yet, why not celebrate it at the end of February when everything is deeply discounted?

Given my over-active immune system, Valentine’s Day would also be a wasteful holiday for me for a few reasons that don’t apply to everyone. I’m mildly allergic to milk, so 99% of the Valentine’s Day chocolate out there isn’t something I can actually eat. I’m also mildly allergic to flowers, so any bouquet of live flowers is going to make me sneeze and cough uncontrollably until I throw it away.

Minimizing Clutter

Even though I live in a very small home and regularly try to donate or throw away things that are no longer useful to me, I still own more stuff than I need.

(My mother used to complain about this same phenonemon when I was a kid. I didn’t understand it then, but I sure do now!)

Other than the winning lottery number, of course, there are very few non-consumable things in this world that I would like but don’t currently own.

While I’d appreciate the sentiment if my spouse bought me something like a stuffed animal or jewelry for this holiday, I never want or expect anything like that. It’s not my style, and I’d much rather save the majority of that money and maybe splurge on $20 worth of fancy chocolates once the price for them finally drops again.

What I really want is to have an uncluttered home as much as is possible given our small living quarters and need to store the things that we do use often enough to keep.

If someone wants to give a Valentine’s Day gift, I know exactly what I’d recommend to them.

The Best Valentine’s Day Present of Them All

Love is the best Valentine’s Day present of them all. When I say love, I’m talking about every kind of it you can imagine:

The love that two or more people share when they’re in a romantic relationship. 

The love of a parent for their child.

The love of a family – whether chosen, biological, adoptive, or foster –  for everyone who is part of it.

The love shared between friends.

The love a person feels for their pet. 

The love a pet feels for their human. 

The love a stranger feels for another stranger.

The love we feel for ourselves.

Unlike chocolate, nobody ever suddenly runs out of love. Love doesn’t require batteries, lose pieces every time you move, or need to be protected from the elements. There is no manufacturer’s warranty for it, and you can’t find it in any store.

Love is free. Love is precious.

If I were going to celebrate this holiday, I’d do it by telling all of the people I care about how much they meant to me.

Thank you for reading this blog, followers. I deeply appreciate every single one of you, and I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s Day.

 

Saturday Seven: Characters Who Need a Date

Saturday Seven is hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, so today I’m thinking about characters who could really have benefited from going on a date. None of the characters I’m about to discuss had romantic storylines. They were far too busy looking after a disabled friend, exploring a haunted mansion, fighting for the freedom of an innocent man, raising a large family, protecting their household from a vengeful spirit, or otherwise staying busy.

While avoiding romantic subplots was definitely the right decision for all of these books, I can’t help but to think that all of the main characters in them would have had happier lives if they somehow could have carved out a couple of hours of free time for an offstage date at some point.

For example…

1. Dr. Faraday from The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters.

Dr. Faraday rose from humble beginnings to become a respected country physician. Unfortunately, his job didn’t pay well, and his patients kept him so busy that he didn’t have any time at all for romance. This became even more of an obstacle once he realized that a few of his patients may be living in a haunted house. Let’s just say that dealing with what may be a angry ghost doesn’t leave a lot of time for dating.  

He would have some attention-grabbing stories to share on a date, though, and I think it would have been good for him to have someone to discuss all of his eerie experiences with. He lived such a lonely and sometimes even frightening life in this book. Having someone to talk to  would have done him a world of good.

2. Constance Barton from Angelica: A Novel by Arthur Phillips.

Constance was a young Victorian mother who became convinced that an evil spirit was terrorizing her daughter at night. She hired a spiritualist to figure out what the entity wanted and why it was attacking her family.

There was far more happening in the Barton household than what was revealed right away. Constance’s marriage was disintegrating before her eyes, and her health was becoming increasingly fragile as a result of a string of incredibly dangerous pregnancies that had produced only one living child so far.

Constance could have really used a nice, chaste date with someone who treated her kindly and who wasn’t obsessed with having a son to carry on the family name.

3. Miss Peregrine from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Wayward Children by Ransom Riggs. 

Miss Peregrine was raising multiple children who were mischievous and had magical powers. She’d been doing this on her own for years, and she had no reason to think her duties would ever end because she and her brood been forced to move to a place that existed outside of time in order to avoid being caught by people who wanted to harm all of them. Her wards were always going to remain their current ages due to the weird way that time passed by where they lived.

She was a fantastic parent figure to the kids, but she really could have used one night where she didn’t have to remind anyone to wash their hands or eat their vegetables. A date would do a world of good for this character. Since I haven’t read the other books in this series yet, I can only hope that someday she’ll get to do just that.

4. Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. 

Atticus was a widower, a single father of two young kids, and a lawyer. He agreed to defend an innocent black man named Tom Robinson who had been wrongly accused of raping a white woman.

Atticus probably never would have admitted that he could find the time to date, but this character sure would have benefitted from a few hours away from all of the responsibilities in his life. Other than Tom, of course, Atticus was the character I sympathized the most with in this tale.

5. Susie Salmon from The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. 

Susie was violently murdered when she was fourteen. As she adjusted to the afterlife and attempted to contact the loved ones she’d been ripped away from, she began to realize all of the important life events she was going to miss out on because of how young she’d been when she died.

Going on one date would have meant the world to her. I wish she could have had that experience.

6. George from Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.

George had voluntarily taken on full financial and legal responsibility for a developmentally-delayed friend of his at at time when people who had those kinds of disabilities didn’t have access to any of the government programs or other types of support that they can rely on today.

While this definitely isn’t canon, I imagine George as a man who would have been identified as gay if he’d lived in modern times. He seemed much more comfortable living with and near other men than he did around women, so I’d set him up with a friendly guy who didn’t mind dating someone who already had many responsibilities in life.

Maybe he’d do well dating someone who also knew what it was like to be the legal guardian of someone whose disabilities required them to have close daily supervision?

7. Carrie from Carrie by Stephen King.

Carrie’s horribly abusive upbringing made me feel so much sympathy for her, especially once I realized that her life was only slightly less traumatic when she was at school.

If only she’d had the chance to experience a normal, happy existence. There were the briefest glimpses of the person she could have become here and there, but she would have really blossomed if she’d done something as simple as held hands with a cute guy at the movie theatre or had someone in her life who told her she looked pretty every once in a while.

Which characters do you wish you could send on a well-deserved date?

Suggestion Saturday: February 10, 2018

Here is this week’s list of comic strips, articles, studies, death notices, short stories, poems, and other links from my favourite corners of the web.

I thought it would be interesting to collect Valentine’s Day themed posts for this week because I don’t actually celebrate this holiday.  It’s fascinating to see the world through the eyes of those who enjoy it.

How to Be Comfortable Alone on Valentine’s Day via MBTTTR. This was such a thought-provoking post about relationships, marriage, and why it’s sometimes better to be single.

What the Phrase “Make Love” Used to Mean. Don’t worry! This link is far more innocent than what you’re thinking. Part of the reason why I’m sharing it with you is that there was a throwaway line in the children’s novel Anne of Green Gables about one of the character writing too many stories about people making love. I had no idea what the original meaning of this phrase was and so I was completely confused by that line. It didn’t fit the era or the characters at all, and now I know why.

Thomas the Blind, Bisexual Goose to be Buried Next to Partner Henry the Swan.Yes, this really happened. It would make a fantastic Valentine’s Day movie.

Am I ‘Normal?’ Average Sex Frequency Per Week Linked To Age. It would be interesting to see the full spread of data for the numbers. As in, is there a big group of people who rarely have sex and another group who has it much more often than average? Or do most folks truly have sex once or twice a week?

Popular Valentine’s Day Gifts I Won’t Be Buying My Valentine via AmberLeventry. I couldn’t agree with this blogger more. My spouse and I have never celebrated Valentine’s Day. It’s simply not our thing. If we ever change our minds about it, I’m sure we’d do something non-traditional for it.

Children Learn Rules for Romance in Preschool. It blows my mind that teachers still reinforce stuff like this.

St. Theophilus the Penitent. This was quite the read.

Why Do Birds Get Divorced? I never would have guessed that mating season for birds could be this complicated. Also, the title is one of the best ones I’ve seen online in ages.

Victorian Valentine’s Day Verses for Rejecting Unwanted Suitors via MimiMatthewsEsq.  Some of these made me shake my head. Wow.

Flappy Valentine. The last panel was the best one.

Dr. J Breaks Down Sex and Burning Calories. I really like it when bloggers take the time to write creative and humorous posts like this one.

From Ivory Darts, Golden Arrows:

“I’ve met other things lonelier than you. These mountains are populated by isolates. All the people keep to themselves, all the caves are filled with moaning bears, and all the nests are full of eggless sparrows. There was a war a long time ago, and now no one speaks to anyone else. If babies are born, they’re left at the post office, and I mail them off to other places.”