Valentine’s Day in the Suburbs

When Dave and I were dating we used to celebrate Valentine’s Day on the 13th. On our first Valentine’s together he had a convention on the 14th (convenient, right?) so we went out the night before instead. We liked the quietness of the restaurant – no crowds or “special” (overpriced) menus – and carried on the tradition of February 13th for years after.

We gloated a bit in our cleverness. We had Valentine’s down!

One  year early in our marriage Dave was heading out of town Valentine’s morning, most likely to that same convention, and casually asked me if I still made the bed when he went out of town.

“Of course,” I told him.

“Have fun  making the bed,” he said as he kissed me and headed out the door.

I found a white-ribboned blue box that made me squeal with delight hidden in the tangled sheets. Inside was a silver necklace. Or maybe it was a bracelet earrings. To be honest I can’t remember. I used to get a lot of jewelry in blue boxes back in those days.

On Saturday night I posted this photo on Instagram and Facebook:

Valentines Dessert
Valentine’s In the suburbs

Our Valentine’s dessert after a dinner of sweet hot mustard chicken thighs (a recipe I’d been wanting to try that I knew Dave and I would like, but the kids wouldn’t), asparagus and roasted potatoes.

Please don’t assume that because I made something the kids wouldn’t like that we dined alone. I made their chicken plain and the four of us enjoyed a lovely dinner together.

After dinner we told the kids they had to watch a romantic comedy with us. We chose Music and Lyrics with Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore. As a lover of 80’s music (and former 80’s sort-of-groupie), it’s one of my favorites. Marley lasted three quarters of the way through before tapping out (that girl has no taste), but Chandler liked the movie and watched the all way through. He says he still can’t get the song Pop Goes My Heart out of his head.

It is pretty catchy in all of its fake-80’s fabulousness.

(By the way, if you’ve never seen Music and Lyrics you must first watch this spectacular video and then do whatever you have to do -cable, Netflix, your local library- to watch it. You will totally thank me because it’s awesome. So I will preemptively say, “You’re welcome!”)


I made a homemade Valentine with a printed someecards & taped it to a dark chocolate bar and stuck it under Dave’s pillow.

someecards Valentines Day
This was not his card, but it’s pretty appropriate for this post.


Yeah, I go all out. Dave said he thought we agreed that we weren’t doing Valentines this year. Uh… no. But perhaps after (almost) 21 years of marriage that agreement is implied. If I told you that his neglect of a forced Hallmark holiday hurt my feelings I’d be lying. In fact I’d have been shocked if he had done something. And now I get to eat the chocolate I gave him (conveniently the kind I like) without guilt.

Hmmm… a recipe I’ve been wanting to try, a good bottle of wine, one of  my favorite cheesy romantic comedies and  my husband’s dark chocolate all for me? Turns out I’m still pretty clever when it  comes to Valentine’s Day.

The ABC’s of Keeping Score with Middle Age

Last Friday was my birthday. My birthday is on Flag Day, so I hope you hung a flag in my honor. Or in honor of our flag. Whichever.

Now this is how I like to see Flag Day celebrated!

To celebrate I got my butt out of bed at 5AM even though I didn’t sleep well the night before and went to the 5:30 Boot Camp class at my gym to prove to myself that I wasn’t old. (And so I wouldn’t feel guilty about eating whatever I wanted that day.) At the end of class the instructor had everyone sing Happy Birthday to me. I’d be a liar if I said I hated that. It wasn’t a scary milestone birthday, but it’s two very short years away from a scary milestone birthday, so I did some serious reflecting on my life -where I’ve been and where the hell I’m going- when I went on my morning dog walk. Then I had a mini-mid-life crisis, got a spa pedicure and had my toenails painted blue. And then to stick my tongue out even further to this thing called old middle age I got my hair colored so I could say buh-bye to my gray roots (until they pop back up in about three weeks a week and a half, sticking their middle finger up at my stuck out tongue in rude defiance). Me: 1 – Middle Age: 0 (At least until my roots come back!)

Don’t my feet look youthful?

In the late afternoon I went to a party for Chandler’s cross country team because even though it way MY birthday, I’m a mother first. (Plus I heard there’d be wine.) It was the track coach’s wife’s birthday too and some of the kiss ass very nice track moms got her a cake and had everyone gather around to sing Happy Birthday. She insisted that they sing to me too. I like the track coach’s wife. We got home from the party around 8:00 and Dave and I watched a DVR’d episode of Mr. Selfridge. Or rather Dave watched it. I was asleep (and probably drooling) by 8:30. Me: 1 – Middle Age: 1. (Dammit!) On Saturday morning I took the 9:30 kickboxing class at the gym a little terrified that Chris Stevenson would pull me on stage as he tends to do on birthdays. I really didn’t want to go on stage because A.) my normal workout pants were dirty and I was forced to wear a pair that screams, “Yes, my ass really is that fat” and B.) Even though I’ve been going to Boot Camp regularly, I haven’t been to kickboxing in a few weeks and wasn’t sure how well I could keep up with the intensity of the class. Chris was feeling unusually generous because he tried to coax me onstage, but didn’t pick me up and place me there like he’s done in the past. (He was probably afraid he’d hurt his back when he saw the size of my ass in above-mentioned workout pants.) Saturday night it was time to celebrate my birthday properly. I met my friend Cindy at Latigo Kid in downtown Agoura Hills at  my bedtime  8PM for a margarita (or two) before heading over to The Canyon Club to relive my youth and see 80’s New Wave/Pop/New Romantic sensation ABC. (Take that middle age!) Oh yeah, when I live it up, I live it up big. And if you’re going to live it up big and relive your 80’s (or 90’s) youth in this town, The Canyon Club is the place to do it. The club’s got a great ambiance and it’s all 80’s/90’s music all the time – Psychedelic Furs just played there (so bummed to have missed them), Courtney Love is coming, The English Beat is coming, Rick Springfield  plays there all the time.

The coolest club in Agoura Hills through the blurry lens of my cellphone

ABC’s lead singer, Martin Fry may be 55-years-old, but he has definitely still got it. He shot his Poison Arrow straight through my heart alright. (See what I did there? No? Did you say #epicfail? Sorry!) In all seriousness, the band was fantastic. Martin looked very sharp dressed in a suit and his voice sounded great – amazing actually. Cindy and I smashed up as close as we could and danced and danced. The Look of Love, When Smokey Sings, Be Near Me – we sang along at the top of our lungs to all of them. They rocked the house. 80’s Music Rockstars: 1 – Middle Age: 0

These blurry pics are as good as it gets with my cellphone camera!

Although I will admit, the band went on exactly at 9:00 and was off stage by 10:15. (Probably when they used to start playing in the 80’s.) Because even though Martin Fry is a rockstar, he is even older than me. (I wonder if he ever falls asleep on the couch at 8:30 when he’s not performing.) 80’s Music Rockstars: 1 – Middle Age: 1. Yes, that damn Middle Age even sticks its middle finger up at rockstars. The only thing to do is keep rocking and stick up your middle finger right back. (You know, when you’re not asleep on the couch.) *Flag on unicycle photo courtesy of Mike Baird