Andrew and I are not ‘good’ Valentine’s Day celebrators. You’re supposed to buy a flowery card, make reservations at a pricey restaurant that is filled to the gills with other couples, spend a lot of $$ on a bouquet of cut flowers that will be ready to throw out in a week and buy copious amounts of chocolate. We fail on every front: we hardly ever do cards, we don’t go out to a fancy restaurant and I usually request a plant to put in the yard instead of cut flowers. Actually, correction – we don’t fail on every front: we do take advantage of any excuse to enjoy chocolate.
This Valentine’s Day was no exception. We did our best to keep things simple …. although occasionally, it backfired. Case in point: heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast.
They look very sweet, don’t they? In fact, they’re downright Pinterest-worthy. But before you go pin your little heart out – a word to the wise. They will take 10 times longer to cook than regular pancakes when you in fact only have 2 heart-shaped cookie cutters to pour your batter into on the skillet. Alsooooo, if your batter is not thin enough, then they will stick like the dickens to said cookie cutters, and you will burn the crap out of your fingers as you (idiotically but instinctively) try to push the pancake out of the cookie cutter before it is blackened to a crisp.
Fortunately, Andrew swooped in and we developed a good system: he lifted the cookie cutter with tongs while I used a knife to push the pancake out and then flipped it. I also thinned the batter out which helped immensely. So, lessons learned:
1. don’t touch a hot metal cookie cutter with your hand (yes, I too wonder how I made it through life this far)
2. always recruit your husband as sous chef, especially for Valentine’s pancakes
3. heart-shaped pancakes just taste better …. mostly because by the time you’ve cooked them, you really feel you’ve earned a little extra maple syrup
After breakfast, we took Annie and Sasha on a run at our favorite park down the street, Bald Hill. This time, we finally explored a path that was new to us and wow, was it stunning. Corvallis was blessed with some gorgeous weather Saturday with sunshine and mid-60s temps. Fluffy white Simpsons clouds dotted the sky (you know, like in the intro to The Simpsons).
Sasha was a good sport and let me put a festive bandana on for her run.
We spent the afternoon in our yard with the dogs, planting flowers and weeding the garden beds. It was so wonderful just to be out in the sunshine! If I could pick only one thing that living in Oregon has taught me, it is that when sunshine comes your way, don’t take it for granted!
The dogs were thrilled and did some good old-fashioned hound sun-bathing.
So, there we are enjoying this gorgeous afternoon when Wham! out of nowhere, something stung Andrew on the back of the neck. He acted like it was no big deal but later, after showering and changing, he appeared to be having a terrible allergic reaction: his face was splotchy, the sting site burned and he itched all over the place. He took some benadryll which seemed to calm the reaction and we continued on with our plans.
Our grand plan for the evening was to drive up to Mary’s Peak to watch the sunset while we enjoyed cheese & crackers, strawberries and chocolate. The day had been so gorgeous and clear, so we were excited at the prospect of what should be a stunning sunset. We drove up and parked and started the walk up to the very top of the peak. As we were walking up, we began to get just a tiny bit concerned as clouds started whipping through.
Within just a few minutes, we were totally wrapped up in a cloud layer with little visibility. Cue the tiny violins.
We walked back down to the lower hill and laid out our blanket, prepared to still enjoy our little picnic despite no view.
We enjoyed approximately 1.5 crackers before the crazy wind convinced us that perhaps we should head back down to the car. As we walked down, I felt a small spark of excitement as we emerged under the cloud layer where the sun was indeed sharing some of the glory of her descent. We stowed our basket in the car and then walked around the meadow, oohing and ahhing at the beautiful colors playing out behind the silhouette of the trees – almost like the sky was on fire.
After soaking up as much of the sunset as we could, we drove down to a lower viewpoint to see the sun’s last gasp as it disappeared.
It wasn’t quite what we had planned but turned out to be perfectly beautiful and a wonderful memory together.
One interesting little side-story: when we first arrived at Mary’s Peak and started our walk up, we heard the loud, obnoxious sound of tires squealing. We looked down to the parking lot to see a black Mustang spinning around like a maniac, in what I suppose the driver considered to be a display of their crazy cool driving skills. The car then sped out of the parking lot as fast as it could, engine groaning in protest, and we could hear occasional squeals as the tires made the curves. Andrew and I both shook our heads and I said, ‘It’s sad – sometimes you can just see someone’s future.’ Sure enough, when we drove down the mountain later, that black mustang had taken a turn too hard and spun off the road. The people were fine and they were fortunate that they went off in a flat area with grass and trees; much better than the alternative of a sharp cliff. So, in case you needed another reason not to drive like a maniac on mountain roads – there you go.
We returned home and Andrew built a fire to enjoy our ‘picnic’ by. We sipped wine and talked and laughed and then began to feel quite sleepy. If you recall, Andrew had taken benadryll earlier and it seemed to be having its sleepy effect on him. I had no excuse – I’m just 100 years old, I guess.
Despite the burned fingers, stung neck, and sneaky clouds, it was a perfect Valentine’s Day- the 15th one we’ve celebrated together. It is incredible how the years fly by but I’m glad for the chance to share them with my best friend and true love.