Valentine’s Week

Being the soppy people we are, it’s never a case of there being a special day to express our love – as more than one person puts it, it should be a 365 day per year effort and appreciation – but it does no harm to focus hearts and minds on giving a little boost.

This year, the redoubtable Lady P offered to do a romantic photoshoot in the woods for me and Lady M (Lady S having a prior engagement that weekend), so on Saturday we tripped over to Virginia Water to dodge the rainclouds. Lady P has a Crown Estates Photography Permit, so has been on a number of expeditions with her partner to find good locations, so we put ourselves in her hands for the afternoon.

Yesterday, while we snuggled on the sofa, the group chat we share with Lady P went berserk as she uploaded the selection of photos she had processed for us – with the aim of showing us how she perceives us and our love for each other. They’re beautiful – and I’ve been slowly putting them on Instagram and Facebook in small batches.

We may not be traditional, but we are geeks, and our love of life and play and each other shines through – feel free to go take a look as the collection expands.

We may not have had Lady S around, but at least we had messenger – and we’ll see her again soon enough. Valentine’s continues.

Short Story: Just Breathe

“Breathe in, breathe out.” The words were calm and authoritative, delivered with certainty. His eyes seemed to sparkle as she looked up at him from the couch. She did as he said, without thinking. He repeated the command, giving her time to do each action but not enough to do anything else.

The regulation of her breathing calmed the anxiety that had been threatening to break over her, pushing it back with the simple movement of her diaphragm as it pulled and pushed the precious air in and out in a more than tidal ebb and flow.

“Breathe in.” He said, and she did, relaxing her eyelids and focusing on the flow of air in her nostrils.

“Breathe out.” He said, and she released the air from her lungs and relaxed her shoulders. He didn’t give her a chance to do anything but obey the next cycle that led her deeper and quieter.

She stopped counting the cycles after a while, and started anticipating them instead; reducing her world to this moment and those words. The anxiety was gone. Certainty was here. Obeying the words brought calm, and she nodded as he said so between the words of the cycle.

She breathed in when he said, she breathed out when he said, and knew in this perfect moment that buying him that book on hypnosis had been the perfect Valentine’s gift.

Valentine’s Day

slide_398308_4904954_freeI’ve been heard to mutter a little over the last month or so that the selection of cards available for Valentine’s Day locally have been a little…fluffy. A little traditionally saccharine and safe perhaps – and not really a great match for the weird and wonderful ongoing whirlwind that is life in our household.  I may even have mused aloud on social media about the lack of cards mentioning concubines as an illustration of how safe and ordinary the usual ranges are.

Huffingon Post did have an article recently on honest or non-traditional cards that I enjoyed, and that seemed to answer my hopes for more interesting, but there wasn’t anywhere locally that carried anything in a similar vein and I didn’t really trust to ordering from Etsy for any of the examples in the article to be delivered on time. I may have been in a somewhat cynical mood, combined with the low shifts I’ve had recently.

I thought about making some custom cards up, and even had suggestions from my ex-wife on someone who might make some for me, but the last few weeks sped by without really allowing much in the way of time to make that happen. Yes, you read that right, suggestions on custom valentine cards from my ex-wife – being able to forge an amicable relationship post-divorce is a wonderful thing, I can’t recommend it enough where practicable – though it’s not suitable for all, I know. In the end, I did get some fairly traditional cards, and devoted the blank space to writing custom messages to light up faces instead. Maybe next year I’ll track things down on Etsy well ahead of time.

The great joy this year though has been the huge explosion of geeky valentine’s e-cards and graphics that I’ve seen online. Pretty much every fandom has produced templates featuring characters and puns based on their names or favourite catchphrases  – a particular favourite was from Frozen, with the words “I want to hold your Hans” and I did chuckle at the sight of a Monsters, Inc one adorned with the legend “You don’t have to put that thing back where you found it”.

Valentines Day itself has been a quiet affair – I took the Charleesi to her riding lesson as usual while Lady M studied, and we had a slow afternoon between games, reading and a session at the local coffee shop before heading home. One homecooked risotto later, we settled down to an evening of films, introducing Charleesi to Beetlejuice and Red2 as examples of great alternative Valentines Day films. There’s nothing like death, ghosts and explosive gun battles to round off a romantic weekend 😉

Here’s hoping you’ve had a great weekend so far, whether it’s been loved up or quiet and in your own space.

Preparing for Valentines

Keep Calm and Use the Konami Code

I’ve been scratching my head this year with the realisation that Valentine’s Day and our anniversary are only a couple of weeks apart. This year is our third anniversary, which means that gifts should be either leather, if you’re going the traditional route, or glass or crystal for the more modern gifts.

I still haven’t seen anything leap forward from the shelves or catalogues yet (suggestions from the peanut gallery are welcome, as ever) so I’m hoping a wander round the shops tomorrow will see something suitable appear.

In the meantime, I’m using the excuse of Valentine’s Day to set up a mini event at the library. We’ve been taking favoured books, photocopying the stock control bar codes and then wrapping the books in plain paper. The bar codes and three word descriptions go on the wrapper, and there we have our Blind Book-Date display, ready for the next couple of weeks.

A love of books is just as valid. If you think otherwise, you’re wrong 😉