Two Days Late and Two Dollars Short

Jacopo da Ponte - St Valentine Baptizing St Lu...

Jacopo da Ponte – St Valentine Baptizing St Lucilla – WGA01452 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Saint Valentine, patron saint of love, lovers, beekeepers, epilepsy, fainting, plague, and travelers.  He was one busy dude.

Since this week included Valentine’s Day and I’m writing a romance, I was thinking about romance; the ways it can be defined, the different meanings, and how those representations have changed for me over the years.  Yeah, yeah, I’m a little late for a Valentine’s Day post.

I don’t remember thinking about romance or Valentine’s Day as a kid, certainly it wasn’t the standard it has become for each child to come to class with a card for each classmate and a candy stuck into each one.  I don’t remember it being in our home, either.  My parents were very practical people, something like buying a heart shaped box of chocolates  would have sent my father up on his political soap box to deliver a long, loud lecture–possibly pulling out the Encyclopedia Brittanica for back up and illustrations.  Not that he never bought my mother flowers or gifts (not regularly, but it happened), but the idea of being expected to do so because of a Saint, or worse, Hallmark, was just the type of thing to make his head explode.

Vinegar Valentine, circa 1900

Vinegar Valentine, circa 1900 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I was a teenager, oh I loved all that shit.  Pretending I didn’t, of course.  But really, what teenaged girl doesn’t love gifts of chocolates, flowers, white teddy bears with red ribbons, maybe a splinter of a gold charm that must surely mean dedication, pledges of undying adoration from anonymous sources?  Trust me, they all love it, or some variation.  Vegan, hemp wearing girlfriend?  Organic fair trade chocolates.  Or maybe a bong with a rose painted on it, put Sugar Magnolia on the iPod.  Even the girls wearing thick black eyeliner to match flat-died black hair, wearing spikes around their neck.  Stick a black ribbon around the damned box, pierce the teddy bear’s tongue and they’ll be certain you really, truly “get” them.

Romance as an adult, though.  That changes.  And I’m not talking about secksy times.  It means different things to different people.  I focus on women because I’ve got girly bits.  I have to say one of the top three romantic moments I ever experienced with Husband was the first time he insisted I take my pants off so he could iron them.  Strange? Certainly.  But it represented something.  After eleventy billion years together, though, it isn’t quite the same moment.  I can identify and create romance inside my head that work for a manuscript, the off balance rush of hormones in overdrive and  falling in love.  Between Husband and I, we were never big on “traditional,” commercial romantic moments.  As life got busier and more complex, the untraditional romantic moments have gotten lost in the shuffle.  Maybe this is the stage where it would be nice to have the traditional, commercial moments acknowledged, if only to counteract the effects of SAD and sick kiddo.  I find myself wondering what romance means at this stage, with frenetic days of each of us running our separate wheels inside of one cage.  A bonus slice of carrot?  Fresh shavings?

I don’t know, but I’m also wondering if Flower Child will notice if I steal one of the chocolates from the box I bought her.  Probably not, so I won’t.

What does romance mean to you?


valentine! (Photo credit: maximolly)


Telephone operators, 1952

Telephone operators, 1952 (Photo credit: Seattle Municipal Archives)

Time heals all wounds, time is money, time is the longest distance between two places, time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils.  Huh. Google quotes about time, and the pages go on and on.  Everyone has something to say about time. Don’t waste it! Use it wisely! It’s relative!  It’s a nebulous concept, distorting our already biased perceptions.

I’ve been poking around the writers’ forum.  The other day, I tripped over my old username, which I hadn’t been able to remember when I rejoined, so I had created  a new one.  In keeping with the interests of procrastination, once I found it I ran a search for posts by the old name. The internetz, no such thing as gone for good.

Found a thread discussing looking for an agent, I had posted about receiving a request for a “full” based on a partial manuscript sent, the following day I posted about having received a request for a partial based on pages sent with a query.  If you’re reading and you aren’t a writer of fiction, let me tell you, that’s a wild with joy and nerves skip around the apartment until you notice the kids are in a frightened huddle in the corner worthy couple of days.  Another member posted on the thread saying I was someone to watch.  Quite a compliment.  The funny part?  Not only don’t I remember posting any of that, I don’t remember the compliment, or the happy dance I’m sure I stomped out for at least a week.

If I had come across the post in some other way without noticing the username, I would have stopped and studied the signature, following any links to see if this person was now published, with a novel(s) available on the market.  Talk about a disconnect.

I don’t wish I could go back to that time period, there were many other crappy things happening in my life that I don’t care to relive.  Hey, you don’t achieve this trajectory of downward mobility if you’re skipping through the daisies each day.  But I do wish I could sift the sands of that time period, find the grains that represent the writing me, and just put those grains in my pockets, so when I’m frustrated I could touch them, roll them between my fingers and against my cheek, to remind myself of the possibilities.

Lakota storyteller: painting.

Lakota storyteller: painting. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Paring Down

Old Woman Peeling Potatoes

Old Woman Peeling Potatoes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love the principles behind the various living simply movements.  Think about it, in our frenetic day to day lives, doesn’t the idea of slowing down and simplifying sound tempting?

Not in an extremist way, I have no interest in renouncing technology and indoor plumbing;  living completely off the grid, but just saying enough is enough, enough is good enough, I’m going to value time to breathe and enjoy. I’m always interested in the stories of people who decide to do this, sell their second and third cars, their McMansions, and move to adorable, solar powered log homes in Montana, or Maine or Idaho.

1919 Indoor Toilet Ad

1919 Indoor Toilet Ad (Photo credit: dok1)

Except, reading these blogs, how to guides, and articles, these people all seem to have started off with significantly more than they need. And their new homes always have enough room for comfortable furniture, a working garden, room for all who live there and the stuff they continue to value. How does one decide to live simply in the city with a family and limited budget? Is it possible to make it a choice, when so many “no’s” are out of necessity?

I’ve known/know a few who seem to, but they’re all either single or two people (couple or one adult with a child). None have significant, chronic medical needs. Their dry goods aren’t sitting out on kitchen counters because the cabinets are crowded with medicines and supplements.

I like the idea of getting rid of unnecessary stuff and clutter.  It’s the battle of clutter here, because there just isn’t a place for everyone’s stuff.  But what is unnecessary?  My books? Bite your tongue, I need those! Not every book I’ve ever read, and over the past couple of years I’ve passed along at least a hundred, but what’s left are my companions, my solace when I’m feeling stuck or lonely or blue. I could replace them with an e-reader, but that would involve money to purchase the e-reader and buy the books–I already own!–electronically.

There are now 4 small boxes of stuff sitting in my living room from my mother’s apartment. One that’s waiting to be passed along. 3 small boxes from my mother’s life which includes memorabilia from my father and grandmother’s lives. I’d like to get rid of the big wall unit taking up space, but I’m not about to renounce TV either (yes, I do need to watch the Housewives), so that can’t happen until I can replace the old tube TV with one of the skinny hang on the wall things, and a smaller unit to hold the cable box, iPod dock, and Wii.  Money again.

And what about time? Where do these hours to enjoy life come from?  All those luxuries of modern living (many of which I don’t have), like a dishwasher or washer and dryer are luxuries because of the time they save.

Maybe living simply is a luxury itself, only meant for those who can do so as a choice.

What do you think?


Dollhouse (Photo credit: cliff1066™)