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)

Hey 2012! Don’t Let the Door Hit You on Your Way Out

Cartoon showing baby representing New Year 190...

Cartoon showing baby representing New Year 1905 chasing old man 1904 into history. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


It had moments, but overall, for me, 2012 sucked.  Starting Mrs Fringe was definitely a highlight; it was my way of stomping my spread out and beat up old foot, saying,”Yes! There is still a me.”


This New Year’s, I’m going to pretend there’s a possibility that life will be better, and I will have more moments.  And by better, I mean not any worse.  I’m old enough, had my ass kicked enough, to know this won’t happen magically. The problem with downward mobility is picturing it as a spiral, the pure golden spiral of mathematics or the spiral galaxies of the universe.


English: Golden spiral in rectangles. Portuguê...

English: Golden spiral in rectangles. Português: Espiral dourada dentro de retângulos. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


In other words, a somewhat predictable, plottable course. I don’t think plottable is a word, but it suits my purposes, so I’ll call it poetic license.  But for most of us living on the Fringe, it isn’t (assuming your descent isn’t the product of  addiction, cause that’s a different sort of blog). It’s more of a roller coaster without the ups. Squeaking along wheels shrieking and scraping against the tracks, and then a plunge that drives your teeth into your tongue and cracks your shoulder blade against the too low back of the seat.  But somehow, no matter how painful the ride is, you stay seated, following the directions like a good sheep, “Do Not Unbuckle Safety Belt While Ride is in Motion.”


I haven’t made any New Year’s resolutions in a gazillion years.  It feels so Hallmark to me. But I’m thinking…gift giving at Christmastime is Hallmark, in and of itself.  However, I received some amazing gifts this Christmas that made me leak in their acknowledgement of Mrs Fringe as someone who counts. Here , here, and I can’t thank you enough here. Also, here. So out of this commercial and Hallmark tradition came something beautiful and human. The New Comfort Food cookbook had me thinking about the importance of being ok with being me, being grounded enough to say trying something different doesn’t mean becoming someone different. I’m going to test this, and see if maybe I can make a resolution or two in order to recognize my own humanity. I have three days to decide on a resolution or two, I’m thinking one will involve regular writing submissions.

Do you use the new year to make resolutions?




If I can figure out how to unclench my jaw, and get my brain to release my fingers from their death grip on the sides of this box car, I’m going to search my pockets for the tickets that must be hidden, and try a different ride.


Get Yer Tickets Here!

Get Yer Tickets Here! (Photo credit: HeyThereSpaceman.)