Love is in the Air

Or it’s supposed to be, right? It’s almost Valentine’s Day.

As a grownup, I’m not sure what that really means to me. My husband and I have fallen into the stodgy mindset that this is a day created to sell cards and flowers. We will never again make the mistake of heralding the fine dining cattle call on Valentine’s night after a particularly horrible experience at Mr. A’s in San Diego many years ago. It’s not worth the price hikes, cold entrees and hovering wait staff pushing ¬†you out so they can seat someone else at your table. It’s certainly not romantic… With all that there is to be negative and grumpy about on this day…why is it that I still hope he’ll walk through the door Friday after work with an armful of flowers or a box of chocolate? Why is there still some part of me that wants to buy in? Maybe I’m a romantic hypocrite.

Now that I have kids, there’s a whole other — very welcome — aspect to the day. I spent hours filling out Ninja Turtle valentines with the boys… Yesterday we rolled pretzel sticks in white chocolate, covered them with sprinkles and wrapped them up for the big guy’s class… today we’ll make heart-shaped cookies and decorate them for the small guy’s class. I love that they’re far too young to be jaded or put off by holidays that come with lots of glitz and goodies. It makes it fun for me to still be excited.

Actually, my life philosophy — when it comes to commercialized holidays, birthdays, or any other reason to buy a bunch of Hallmark crap and blow paper horns — is that if there’s an excuse to make a day special, shouldn’t we take it? Life can be long and dreary, I think… why not embrace any reason to make one stand above the drudgery of countless days that are all the same? Bring on the glitter and heart-shaped candies! (Now if I could just get the hubs to buy in, too!)

Do you have any Valentine’s traditions? Do you fall on the romantic side or are you more like the hubby, who thinks that he shouldn’t be told when to be romantic?

I hope you’ll share your thoughts… and come back this week for a fun V-day prize pack of awesome books and a gorgeous bracelet, courtesy of some of my author pals! Here’s a quick view of what’s up for grabs… I’ll post the rafflecopter tomorrow!

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Book Club Reading

My book club (one of the two) met last night. I went sheepishly, having read only half of one of the two books we elected to read. We actually chose three, one of which we’ve already discussed at our “halfsies” book club meeting, which falls between our regular meetings (these chicks read a lot). This is in drastic contrast to my other book club, which chose one book almost three months ago and still has not met to discuss.

Anyway, I read half of The Paris Wife, loving the first few chapters and then finding myself not terribly excited to continue. I was interested in the characters — who isn’t interested in the life of a celebrated writer? But I have to be dying to pick up a book these days to get it read, with so much else going on. (Soccer, swimming, the constant expectation of food, clean clothes, a clean house… oh, yeah, and I’m supposed to be writing.) At least I wasn’t alone in my indifference to the book — though it did spark a decent discussion of fact versus fiction, why an author would choose to write a barely fictionalized account instead of a biography, and talk about the recently re-edited A Moveable Feast.

The second book, The House I Loved, I didn’t even manage to begin. I have to report that the other members of my club weren’t too excited about this one, either, especially after reading the incredible Sarah’s Key. We even all shared a sense of indifference to the books we’ve tried to read since trudging through the pages of these two less-than-enthralling reads. And this is not to say that either of these books is bad — just that neither was a really continually compelling story.

For our next meeting, we selected three more books — one for our halfsies club, and two short novellas for our regular meeting. None of the three were anything I would have probably chosen on my own, and they are all short (so I view them as a small commitment!) We’ve chosen:

No Cheating, No Dying by Elizabeth Weil — kind of an unusual pick for us, but we’re all moms of young kids, so this is an area of interest for sure (it’s one woman’s story about how she tried to make her own marriage better).

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
AND We the Animals by Justin Torres

Of course in my own time, I’m reading a few other things…

A Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
From the Storm by Adrian Walker
The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice

What are you reading lately?