Tuesday, February 26, 2013


When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams

This February our household fell victim to the indiscriminate flu bug that managed to ravage our bodies with aching fevers, raw and irritated noses that hightailed into painful sinus infections, and soggy coughs that drove us to our beds for some much needed rest.  Mr. Hero played a very good nurse while the boys and I had our go of it for a few days until he succumbed to the illness as well.

With energy levels hovering between comatose and pathetic, we spent our confinement watching reruns of Escape to River Cottage which offered chin-dripping juicy dishes and eye candy of the scenic English countryside that left us aching in an altogether different way. Had we known about Elie Barausky and Kristen Dilley's Portland Apothecary , we might have been able to evade the onslaught altogether.  But then we would have missed out on all that sniffy togetherness and time to reflect on the most astounding fact:

Which is just fine by me, thank you very much.  Next time, however, we'll be ready with the big guns, Mr. Flu...so don't even think about it.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

oh, the expectations...

A columnist for our local paper recently gave a Valentine's Day primer to all of the unfortunate males out there who might need a few points of protocol when it comes to the big day of love.  She prepped them for the drill with a warning that if her grandmotherly counsel wasn't carefully followed, the love of their life could quite possibly melt into a sea of tears or worse, resort to high drama that could land them on the couch for several days. By heeding to her six rules of romance, a man could easily shoulder his way across the goal line of feminine satisfaction and ultimately land himself in the end zone- Valentine's Day is the Super Bowl of romance after all.

I have to admit that after reading her column, my inner goddess was ready to be wooed. There's nothing wrong with a little attention, chocolate, and some jewelry to prove the devotion of a man.  Make a big fuss over her in front of a lot of people Grandma Nancy had advised. Um, yeah.  I thought I could definitely handle that and momentarily forgot about my introversion that has always made being the center of attention, even on my wedding day, an exhausting ordeal.  My brain also drew a blank over the number of times I put my sweetheart (who happens to live happily as an extrovert) through the wringer each year he threw a surprise birthday party in my honor.  Oh yeah, no.  Rule #1 definitely wouldn't work.

And the more I thought about it, the more one sided Valentine's Day seemed to be.  Hang on there, before you start calling me a traitor to the cause of female veneration, remember, I am the mother of four sons who will one day be faced with all of the hype and pressure encompassing this holiday.  And I can't help but wonder what kind of expectations the keepers of my sons' hearts will hold for them?

Maybe I'm just a little inexperienced, but contrary to what Grandma Nancy had to say about the tears and drama, I've yet to meet a woman who got her panties bent out of shape over Valentine's Day. So I have faith that the young woman who eventually steals my son's heart will be a little gentle when he commits the unpardonable sin of bringing home a blender because he mistakenly thought she'd think about how much he loved her each time he made her a breakfast drink.

Mr. Hero hasn't needed a calendar or a columnist to remind him how to show me his love. It's the little things, the cumulative deposits of kindness and kisses every day; the sweet words and touches before heading off to work in the morning; his willingness to lend me a hand and a listening ear whenever I need his help with something- anything;  and his desire to stand with me as an equal partner as we raise our sons and build this life we have together. This love can't be packaged up pretty and placed on a department store shelf.  It can't be advertised on television. I think Grandma Nancy knows this.  I think that women know this. And yes, I believe that the poor creatures hustling for the end zone know this as

So it is my wish that you have a very happy Valentine's Day spent with someone you love- someone who makes you laugh or causes your heart to dance. My sweetheart and I will be on a date this evening at the $2 theaters watching the Life of Pi.  And maybe- just maybe, we'll order some popcorn.