In A Word…

Musings from the West Coast

A Little Valentines’ Day Self-Care

Last year I had my first “single” Valentine’s day in almost 16 years.  I must have pulled myself completely off social media for it.  No tweets, no facebook posts, not even an Instagram photo from that week.  No blog post.  I was avoiding all of the hearts I came across like the plague they were.

It wasn’t always this way.

This year’s a year later, I wanted to find ways to worry less about why this Hallmark Holiday should bother me, and more about why I should enjoy it.  So here’s some silly memoir-esque snippets about the holiday.img_20170209_092239

  • The real reason why I’m so fond of the holiday is because of my Mom and Dad.  They always tried to celebrate for us kids.
    • My mom borrowed a short film from a local Christian bookstore: she was a Sunday School teacher and was likely going to show it to the confirmation class.  I don’t remember whether she did or not, but since it was at the house she allowed me to watch it, too.
    • The story, like St. Nicholas being evolved by Coca Cola, was evolved by Hallmark and other card/candy companies to include more commercialism and the flood of hearts that we think of now.
  • Hilariously, my first character from high school was named “Valentina”.  When digging through boxes this year, I found a copy of the draft.  It’s lighthearted, and silly, and everything you would expect from a teenager trying to write about something that they don’t have a lot of knowledge about.
    • It was a fable about the abdication of a king, started by a vocabulary lesson where I was too lazy to write the same word ten times, instead opting to write a paragraph using each vocabulary word in it.
    • You write what you know, so there were characters for my brother, and my best friend.  I ended up changing Valentina’s name to something more greek in my second pass of the draft, but I wonder if switching it back wouldn’t be the right call.
  • The year after I started college, I remember a particularly crisp February that included visiting Cravings in Webster Groves for Apple Galette (a flat apple pie pastry), buying chocolates: Dove promises (which were NOT romantic in nature, but also little self-care fortune cookies at the time) to share with others, carrying around a ginormous fake rose, and generally trying not to think about my choice to more or less opt out of dating.
    • The team at Cravings allowed me to give my compliments directly to the chef, which was really sweet. (It was a great cream of broccoli soup.)
  • Once upon a time, I worked at a florist shop – just an ordinary shopgirl.  Valentine’s day is not just a holiday there – it’s the busiest season of the year.
    • Watching a florist build a rose bouquet – their first or last for the day, is almost a science. Where to place the flower? What height?  How many places should the ferns or baby’s breath sprout from? How full? How light?
    • One other thing about flowers: Not all flowers have a scent but many do – and they can be powerful, light varied, syrupy, sweet, or just plant-like warmth.
  • I am a ridiculous fan of haunting the half-price Valentine’s Day sales after the fact, like post-Halloween sales.  Aside from the candy, there’s also some really adorable nonsense that goes up for sale on Valentine’s day.  I think my favorite was a pillow that said “#LOVE”.
    • Let me say with my most wicked grin, “This year will be interesting, because the day after Valentines’ falls on a payday.”
    • While I don’t plan on buying anything, looking is always half the fun.

While this year is going to be a little more tense than usual, I keep rededicating myself to other things that are important to me:  My child, my job, my mental health, my myriad hobbies and my writing… and maybe one day, I’ll be able to appropriately balance all of them.  Until then, though… Happy Valentine’s!


(What do you like to do for Valentine’s Day?  Do you have any suggestions for me?  Things to read? Things to avoid?  Speaking of writing: On Anime Binge, I reviewed the Princess Ai series, which is a really #throwbackthursday moment for the blog.   Check it out!)


A note on writing…

Although I blog intermittently on here, I wanted to take a second to share a new facet to my life… Freelancing.

Something stuck when I pitched to the Everett Herald in October, and I’m extremely blessed to have had three articles approved for publication.  The page to access my articles on Heraldnet is live, and can be found here.

Two are live to correlate with the second run of the articles in the paper copy of The Daily Herald. The original run is in The Herald Business Journal, free to the public and available at the top of the month at various locations such as the Everett Public Library, the Sno-isle library locations, even at QFC.  

My next article is a visit with a brick-and-mortar Franchisee with an Expedia subsidiary: and more to come.

I’m not going to lie, it’s been pretty amazing.

Have a great month, and may amazing things happen to you, too, wherever you are.

A poem: And I, >_<;

And I, >_<;
scared of my own voice
breathe :0 😮 :O 😮
in deep hollows my

constricted x:
silence my

soft >_>whispered doubts gain sound

untyped 0_o
save for emojis



The Mountain is Out Today

Every local area has its own idiosyncrasies, phrases, and quirks.  I think my favorite one in Seattle is “The Mountain is Out Today”.

Definition: To look at the crystal clear sky, free of haze, free of rain, free of mild fog and see a crisp view of a mountain against the cool blue sky.

The mountain does not have to be snow-capped, but it helps pull it away in contrast.

It is most often used in reference to “Mount Rainer” but there are “the sisters” and also the Everett mountain range.

One fifth of everyone that I’ve met out here knows this phrase or has used this phrase at least once in my presence.  It’s complete, it’s simple, and brings to mind a beautiful maiden stepping out of her house to walk the tree-lined streets:  The Mountain is beautiful, the mountain is not hiding, the mountain is really there, the mountain is out today.

The Art and Brilliance of Yves Saint Laurent

Angel stayed with dead owner for five days; now she is terrified at shelter

I’m at the opposite coast, diagonally apart, and this story broke my heart this morning…


She lies in her kennel shaking. She has lost her home and her owner, and now she’s confused and heartbroken. She doesn’t know why she’s in a kennel, alone and unloved.

This traumatized and depressed dog who was with her deceased owner for over five days is waiting for help in a Tampa shelter. Angel was found in the blood-filled home with her deceased owner. There is no relative to take her, so she is at the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center.

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