February 14, 2014 § 3 Comments
February 12, 2014 § 2 Comments
Valentine’s Day is nearly here. Regardless of how you feel about the holiday, February 14 reminds us any day is a good day to tell someone you love (spouse, significant other, parent, child, friend, etc.) how special they are to you.
This year, instead of loading up on trinkets and high-calorie foods, make something meaningful, like a homemade card. With everyone consumed with texts and emails and electronic media, it’s touching to receiving a tangible gift that someone created with their hands and heart.
These cards only take about 15-30 minutes to make, depending on how many hearts you want to include in your design. If you have scraps of paper around and some twine or ribbon, my guess is you won’t need to go out to buy any of the materials or tools.
- Paper of different weights, textures, designs — be sure to have some solid colors you can write on — reds, whites, and pinks are perfect for Valentine’s Day, but any color will do (this is your artwork, so feel free to draw outside the figurative lines)
- Ribbon or twine
- Envelope (I prefer glassine, but any will do)
- Handheld paper hole punch
- Colored pens or pencils
- Step 1: Cut out different sizes of hearts using the method we all learned in elementary school — fold a piece of paper in half and cut half a heart freestyle (or if you don’t feel comfortable doing this, draw half a heart on a piece of cardboard, cut it out, and use it as a template to trace on your folded piece of paper).
- Step 2: While the heart is folded, punch a hole near the fold and close to the top, near where the top of the fold begins.
- Step 3: Unfold the hearts; arrange them in the preferred order that you’ll place them along the ribbon.
- Step 4: Write messages on the solid hearts — To, From, Be Mine, I Love You, etc.
- Step 5: Cut a long piece of ribbon, which you’ll use to string all your hearts; tie a knot at one end of the ribbon.
- Step 6: Add the hearts individually until all are on the ribbon. Mismatched and uneven hearts and patterns lend charm to your art, so don’t worry about making it look perfect.
- Step 7: Once all the hearts are added, tie a knot in the other end of the ribbon.
- Step 8: Address a glassine envelope to the object of your affection.
- Step 9: Gently gather the hearts and maneuver together to fit in the envelope.
- Step 10: Seal and deliver.
May you have a lovely Saint Valentine’s Day!
November 12, 2013 § 6 Comments
I’m lucky to live in a picturesque neighborhood. To my north is an avenue lined for miles with old, renovated Victorian homes and mansions, a favorite for runners and bikers. My street is filled with boutiques and restaurants. But it’s the quiet neighborhood to my immediate south that I enjoy the most.
The best part about this time of year is it’s dark immediately after work, perfect for wandering these tree-lined streets anonymously, zig-zagging my way from block to block. As I pass by each house, I glance over at the lit-up rooms and watch life unfolding inside — a couple preparing dinner together and talking about their days at work, a neighbor visiting, a child doing homework or practicing piano, a family eating dinner or watching television. Visions unavailable for most of the summer, when lights don’t come on until after 9 p.m.
And while I enjoy watching these scenes play out from house to house, I grow a tad melancholy as I’m reminded of what I don’t have. It’s not necessarily the big, beautiful house I want (although that would be nice). It’s what fills it — love, laughter, trust, stories — that I treasure. Someone to come home to and talk about my latest idea. Someone to make dinner for. Someone to make laugh after his rough day.
Many friends remind me that marriage is hard work, that I should be careful what I wish for. I certainly don’t have delusions that only perfection exists behind those lit picture windows. The couple cooking dinner together may have just returned from couple’s counseling. The child doing his homework may be struggling with a learning disability. Half the family sitting down to dinner may be livid with one another.
And I expect that. I don’t want perfect. I welcome the challenge to work on myself and help others through their struggles. But I also want the chance to experience all the good moments that come from building a life with someone.
I’m hopeful to find the right person who wants to have someone look inside our house and see me with him, possibly dancing, most likely laughing, and to have that interloper look forward to the day when he or she will have that too.
August 31, 2013 § Leave a comment
At funerals, I listen for the notable phrase or description, stuffed somewhere in an hour’s worth of prayers, hymns, and bible verses, that embodies the deceased’s personality or the immense love felt for him or her.
In the last two days, I attended funerals for my friend Jason’s mother and for Pete, a hometown neighbor. This is what I’ll remember:
- Jason’s sister read a letter from their mom’s friend who was unable to attend. The sister, a former actress, wonderfully captured the friend’s voice and their mother’s whimsical, sweet, and sometimes mischievous personality. I’m not quite sure how she was able to stay composed, only wavering a bit toward the end, but finishing with flair and poise. I didn’t applaud, but wanted to. Many — young and old, men and women — brushed away tears.
- The church was packed for Pete, whom I’ve known since toddlerhood. She was friendly, extroverted, fun. One daughter aptly described her as the equivalent of a Walmart greeter at the apartment she moved to a few years ago. Another daughter said, “To Mom, no one was a stranger; they were just friends she hadn’t met yet.”
Small moments, yes. But they’ll stick. And that’s all we can hope for once we leave this magnificent, crazy world behind.
August 29, 2013 § 3 Comments
A lovely word, kismet. Six little letters in perfect order unveiling a cheerful cadence. When said, people light up. I light up. Comfort, commitment, wonderment, happiness weaved through its meaning.
* * *
I admittedly place too much weight on others’ perceptions of what I’m doing (or not) to find love. Many say I’ll find it when I’m not looking. At one time I took solace in these sweet reassurances and spent years not searching. Now I just nod at these sentiments and secretly flush them down the crapper.
Others insist I put myself out there more, go on dates with any warm body, wear more mascara and lipstick. While I agree I could do better, I find most people who give me this advice have been out of the dating pool since college or their early 20s. Newsflash: Our 40s are not one big frat party. It’s a backyard BBQ with kids screaming and couples nagging. Surreal and scary? Yes. Do I want that? Absolutely.
In my defense, I’ve tried online dating several times but put that adventure aside in the depths of winter after general disinterest in the men I met. I instead focused on doing what I love, putting myself in the often uncomfortable situation of attending events alone (gallery openings, book readings, running groups, etc.) just to meet like-minded people.
While I’ve enjoyed these excursions, nothing has led to love or even a crush. And I adore a good crush. A reason to curl my hair, take risks, and count the days until we meet again.
* * *
I’m feeling extra sensitive about my single status because in the last several days I’ve met people at work and social functions who’ve asked how many kids I have or what my children’s names are or who’ve said, “when you have kids…” Either they don’t realize my age or are just being kind, but having reached my mid-forties, motherhood just isn’t a realistic option. I suppose I could have had them years ago, but single parenthood was not something I had the energy or desire to tackle at the time.
And while I’m okay with being childless, I grow weary of my singleness. I keep hoping kismet in the form of a friendly, smart, witty man (preferably with a dog) collides with me on the sidewalk and sticks around for eternity.
Everyone tells me he will. I have my doubts some days. So I return to that word, kismet, to light up again.