A Valentine's Story

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by Pamela Felcher

paris.jpg I met my husband Mike in Paris, and, no, it was not like that.  He was visiting his sister and I was a friend of hers traveling through Europe.

Well, one day we convinced him to go shopping with us. I needed something to layer in because it was a cold summer and there was this nearby shop that made elaborate and exquisite batik sarongs that can double as wraps, scarves, whatever the need (this is pre Pashmina).

Valentine's Day Treats

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by Stephanie Jaworski

From the 

shortbreadwwhitechocnraspfront.jpgFebruary 14th is named after the patron saint, St. Valentine, and we celebrate this day with the exchange of candy, flowers, cards, and gifts as a token of affection to our loved ones. The history of this day is very sketchy but it does appear to derive from Christian and Roman traditions. The story I like dates from the third century when Rome was ruled by the Emperor Claudius II. The Emperor outlawed marriages for young men as he felt single men made better soldiers than men who were married. 

A priest, named St. Valentine, didn't agree with the Emperor and married young lovers in secret.  When the Emperor discovered what St. Valentine was doing, he sentenced him to death. While St. Valentine was in prison, waiting to be put to death, he met and fell in love with the jailor's daughter. Before he died he sent her a love letter and signed it "From your Valentine". 

What Does YOUR Palm Say About Your Relationships?

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by Margaret Ruth

palm-heartline.jpgDid you know that there is a marking on the palm's Heart Line that some palmists call the kinky kick? When found in a hand, it is said to indicate someone who enjoys perhaps the most adventurous side of love, I guess we could say.

Did you almost look at your palm thinking I wonder if I have one? I don't blame you. Most of us are very interested in finding what ours and others' palms reveal about love and romance. Especially in February, because those of us in the USA celebrate Valentines Day on Feb.14.

Traditional palmistry denotes several lines and markings associated with the emotional makeup of a person. The main one is the Heart Line. The Heart Line starts on the outside edge of the hand, is under the pinky, and runs towards the index finger area. An average Heart Line ends somewhere between the index and middle fingers. This line concerns emotional make-up, the capacity to feel, and to love. It also tells us how love is expressed and how we relate to others.

A clear, deep, gently curved line that ends in the area between the index and middle fingers shows someone who has depth of feeling and balanced emotional expression.

Anti V-Day

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by Jesse Sirkus-Brown

broken-heart.jpgLately it’s been quiet in my place. I’m amazed by how only a week can feel like a lifetime after ending a half-year relationship with the person I was convinced I loved. The red pillow on the other side of my memory foam mattress hasn't been touched, the non-slam toilet seat in my bathroom is permanently up and the only article of clothing that remains folded in my apartment are the green pajama bottoms she borrowed last time she was here.

There is no longer a need for a mutually accepted group to be played on my record console; the more sultry romantic sounds of Elysian Fields, Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66, Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds soundtrack have been replaced with the more discordant melodies and raucous noises from Joy Division, Igor Stravinksy and Chet Baker. A new tone has prevailed underneath my spacious ceilings, not a tone of vivacious spirit or luminous activity, but one of concord and settled reconciliation. All these lofty words are used to cover up sorrow with a big cheeky grin because now I can expand my mind opposed to my heart. Oh, who am I kidding?


Vintage Card + Valentine's Day = Brownie Points!

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by Reyne Haines

vintagecard.jpgThere is one day in February that excites women across the country... Valentine's Day. A day she hopes to be showered with flowers, chocolates and a great dinner with the love of her life.

Believe it or not, Valentine's Day (or St. Valentine's Day as it is really known) was not created by Hallmark. There are a few schools of thought that surround St. Valentine, and who he was.

The Catholic Church recognizes three saints named Valentine or Valentinus whom were martyred.
One story claims Valentine was a priest living in Rome during the 3rd Century. During this time, marriage became outlawed because soldiers were thought to be stronger if they were without a family. Valentine did not agree with this law, and continued to marry couples against the wishes of Emperor Claudius II. Once Claudius learned of this betrayal, Valentine was jailed.

According to one legend, Valentine sent the first "Valentine" greeting. He was in prison and fell in love with a young girl who visited him while there. It is said he sent her a letter and signed it "From your Valentine" — an expression we still use today.

Better Loving Through Chemistry

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by Natasha Singer

From the N.Y. Times

computerheart.jpgIf finding true love were an exact science, we wouldn’t need matchmakers, singles bars or, of course, online dating services.

Like job seekers who take the Myers-Briggs personality test to help steer them to suitable professions, we’d simply take a relationship test, whose results would identify our most compatible types of mates and rule out the frogs. Problem solved.

Of course, Cosmopolitan magazine has been running pop psychology love quizzes — “Which Bachelor Is Right for You?,” “Is He Naughty or Nice?” — for decades, prompting young women the world over to assess how sexually or socially compatible they might be with their objects of desire.

Now, a handful of dating Web sites are competing to impose some science, or at least some structure, on the quest for love by using different kinds of tests to winnow the selection process. In short, each of these sites is aiming to be the Netflix of love.

Instead of using a proprietary algorithm to recommend movies you might enjoy, based on your past choices, however, these dating sites offer you a list of romantic candidates whose selection is based on proprietary analyses of personality characteristics or biological markers.

Read article...

Lady Baltimore

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by Agatha French

2005-valentine-2.jpgAbout ten years ago, after a painting that she’d been working on disappointed her, my mother dragged the canvas out onto the front lawn.  Still in her painting clothes, she proceeded to rip it apart with a small hatchet, reducing a 3 by 5 foot work of art to an abundance of 3 by 5 inch works of art.  A few weeks later, she sent them, without explanation, to her friends and family for Valentine’s Day.  (The whole thing was a little “Vincent’s ear”, and the parallel did not escape her: she did a series of Van Gogh’s disembodied ear the next fall.  She also set fire to a couple of those, and then did a painting of them on fire.  And yes, I was an anxious child.)  The canvas scrap my mother sent to me that Valentine’s contains the original painting’s full signature.  Of all the fragments of her destroyed work, each one a tiny relic of perfectionism and mania, I got the one with her name on it!  

Receiving the portion with her signature, the veritable corner piece to the puzzle of her insanity, really means something to me.  I can see how, when other people opened their valentines that year, they might have felt a vague sense of reproach, instead of the more common Valentine’s message: affection. 

The Pressure of Valentine's Day

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by Seale Ballenger

paperhearts.jpgSo when did Valentine’s Day turn into such a big deal? Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve been bombarded like me by spam email soliciting for various gifts of flowers, candies, cards, chocolates, clothes, hats, and stuffed animals. Commercials everywhere are constantly warning us not to forget our loved ones. Whatever happened to the good old days of cutting out simple paper hearts, scarfing down a couple of powdery candies stamped with “Be Mine” on the side, and calling it a day? Nowadays, even entertainment companies are getting in on the act with TV series offering special holiday centered programming and movies such as New Line Cinema’s latest, “Valentine’s Day,” hitting theaters this weekend. And don’t forget the restaurants offering a simple night out for two starting at $200 and going up from there.

Does anyone remember the origin of this day and what its original intent was? According to Wikipedia, Saint Valentine's Day (commonly simply Valentine's Day) is an annual <holiday held on February 14 celebrating <love and <affection between <intimate companions. The holiday is named after one or more early Christian <martyrs named <Valentine and was established by <Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD. It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by <presenting flowers, offering <confectionery, and sending <greeting cards (known as "valentines"). The holiday first became associated with <romantic love in the circle of <Geoffrey Chaucer in the <High Middle Ages, when the tradition of <courtly love flourished. Modern Valentine's Day symbols include the <heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged <Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have largely given way to mass-produced <greeting cards. No kidding…

Heavenly Brandied Apricot and Almond Pound Cake

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by Sue Doeden

apricot-almond_cake.jpgUsually, pound cake is a Spring thing for me. I make it each year around Easter and maybe again a little later when fresh, locally-grown strawberries are ready to pick. The sweet berries with their bright juice are a perfect companion for pound cake. But in the midst of my almond paste frenzy, my apricot brandy pound cake seemed like a logical place to try to add almond paste. So, I did. And I was right. Brandied Apricot-Almond Pound Cake is the result of a match made in heaven.

Remember the brandied apricot topping on those almond bars I posted last week? Well, here it is again, swirled like birthday ribbons through apricot brandy-spiked pound cake laced with almond paste. I made some adjustments to my original pound cake recipe. The resulting texture is not exactly that of my original pound cake, but it comes pretty close.

It's best to make the cake a day or two before serving. Seal it up tight and store it in a cool place. The flavors develop with such depth and the fragrance that wafts up through your nostrils when you open the cake is intoxicating.


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