Valentine’s Day can be a cute, lighthearted day, but I don’t like what has become of it. When I was in elementary school, it was fun to make cards, colour hearts and take them home for friends and family. There would likely be a few heart-shaped chocolates or a heart-shaped cake for dessert. It was a low-key, fun day.
Now, advertisers try to make us feel like moral degenerates if we don’t buy flowers, chocolates, restaurant meals and some sort of sexy present for our significant other, if we have one. It’s sort of, spend money, and spend THIS way, otherwise you don’t care about or love your people.
My M and I disagree. We don’t believe in giving special attention on just one day; we try to show it every day. We avoid going to restaurants or buying gifts for Valentine’s Day; the commercial demand that we celebrate in an “appropriate” way by spending money in a super-busy restaurant with over-worked staff who are serving up limp meals is not something on which we’re willing to spend money.
We would much rather go at a time of our choosing and really enjoy it. Give flowers at any time just because. Do little things and show in numerous ways how much we love and appreciate each other. Enjoy a chocolate heart.
But be guilted into a formulaic response so that big companies can collect money? No thank you.
I have been really busy during this lockdown and so I haven’t done any “repairs” on my blog. But …
I’ve been working long hours and usually through the weekends as well, but during a recent regular health check-up, I discovered that my blood pressure was extremely high, to the point that I was apparently in “stroke territory,” according to the nurse-practitioner.
I’ve had what amounts to a latent blood pressure concern for some years now and it’s an issue that very decidedly runs in my family. I keep an eye on it, and do what I need to if it starts creeping over to the wrong side of the ledger.
But my, this was a wake-up call. So, I had to take some very quick action to do a repair on me.
I find this working from home to be difficult. In the past, I’ve been able to draw a line around home and more or less wall it off. It was a sanctuary. But now? Work is at home; home is at work. Stressed employees were needing to talk. Many new and unexpected tasks had to be completed. NOW. There were shortages and frustration and fear and uncertainty. Days slid into nights and merged into each other in an amorphous mass.
M did his best to look after me by making wonderful meals and looking after everything else.
But I wasn’t able to “turn off.” Texts and phone calls arrived throughout the day and night, and needed to be answered. The community where I work was having a tough time coping and one of my employees became ill with covid (this person was isolating and so there was no spread, and thankfully, after eight days of ICU, there has been a full recovery).
It has slowed down somewhat now but I also realised that I had to get firm, too, and carve out a space for me to relax and chill and rest. My cardio-vascular system would thank me for it.
So, where does blogging fit into this? Blogging has been, and continues to be, one of the things that takes me out of myself. Some bloggers are sharing beautiful photos, others are sharing laughs, still others are sharing recipes and gardening tips. Reading through the posts I follow has been a very welcome diversion, a healthy brain diversion, so in a way, I didn’t need to repair my blog, because it has been busy repairing me.
Blogging comprises a community, and I don’t think that the countries represented here have ever before been so bound by a common enemy. I hate this virus, but in many ways it’s creating a sort of world-wide bond.
My wonderful friend C has an equally wonderful yard. It took her many years to bring it around.
She has many beautiful, mature trees, a small pond, and a vegetable patch.
Loads of flowers, ornamental plants and a gurgling stream complete this garden oasis.
It is truly stunning but also relaxing. My friend has built a remarkably calming haven in the middle of a dense and busy neighbourhood.
On a recent night, we sat on her large comfortable deck, ate good food, listened to sleepily twittering birds, and watched the sun go down and the bats flit in search of dinner. We talked and spent time together.
As I write this my partner, M, is busy in the kitchen making muffins. He is using an old recipe book, one of those great little gems that isn’t at all fancy but completely useful and built around the notion of good nutritious food that is also meant to be comforting and filling.
Old fashioned concepts, perhaps. For many of us, living our lives of plenty, we worry about comfort foods that fill us up. At best, they are starting to become guilty treats and at worst, calorie bombs to be decried and banned.
Sadly, they have lost their position as foods to be honoured and enjoyed after a long day of hard work.
I have good memories of such foods. Walking home from school on a cold rainy day to the yeasty, thick warmth of my mother’s kitchen as she pulled new bread from the oven. My cheeks warming up as sitting on the yellow stool, she served a thick slice, butter melting into the white softness.
We talked softly, too. About school. About my plans. About my friends’ plans. Dreaming about life to the accompaniment of pure edible bliss.
Much was discussed in that kitchen with the yellow stool while a drift of gratifying comfort foods was being prepared and consumed.
Some of you dear readers have probably come to the conclusion that after my nasty experience with a male narcissist that I’m a sort of man-hater. Nothing could be further from the truth. My experience with Harry has in many ways been beneficial and clichéd as it might sound, has helped me to become a better person. Not that I would recommend this method of self-improvement.
Becoming a better person lead me to M. He is the love of my life and the best man I have ever met.