Valentine's Day - 2015

I hate to interrupt our wonderful trip to Lesotho and leave everyone stranded in the Sky Kingdom,  but Valentine's Day has arrived and … well … it's a holiday to be celebrated no matter where we are or what we're doing. We'll descend the Sani Pass tomorrow, but today … it's all hearts and roses. i love you in many languages

Legend has it that Valentine's Day commemorates the day Saint Valentine, a 3rd century Christian bishop was martyred in Rome for marrying Christian couples. I wondered if Valentine's Day was celebrated in other parts of the world and how.

st. valentine

Here in South Africa, I see all the commercial signs of Valentine's Day … heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, Valentine cards, red hearts in the shop windows. It's not as commercial or as big as in the USA, but it's definitely celebrated here. I found this pic on the internet, which is probably more in keeping with Afrikaans valentines.

afrikans valentine

In Japan, they celebrate Valentine's Day with chocolate, but only women give gifts to men. Chocolates known as “giri choco” are given to all male friends and even bosses, but it has no romantic connotation. Guys aren't off the hook though. A month later on March 14, they celebrate White Day when men reciprocate with chocolates and flowers.

In Italy, they say Buon San Valentino. According to tradition, the first man a girl sees on Valentine's Day will become her husband and they'll be married within a year. I imagine that eligible men don't stray far from their homes on that day unless they're interested in matrimony.

ti amo

In Denmark, the custom is to send white flowers known as Snowdrops. Lovers send anonymous love notes, gaekkebrev, signed with dots, not a name. If you guess the sender, you're eligible for an egg at Easter. What an incentive!

In Norway, Valentine's Day is associated with love birds and signs of spring. While in Germany, in addition to the more commercial hearts and flowers, a special gift of a pig can be included. Representing luck and lust, the pig can be a picture, a mini-statue or a chocolate shape. Heart-shaped ginger cookies with romantic phrases are also popular.

piggy love

Dia dos enamorados (Lovers Day) is Brazil's equivalent to Valentine's Day, but it's celebrated on June 12th .  There are musical performances held in addition to the usual chocolates, hearts and flowers.

The Taiwanese celebrate romance twice a year! February 14th coincides with the rest of the world's celebration, but they celebrate it again on July 7th. Men give bouquets of flowers and according to Taiwanese tradition, the color and number of flowers have special meaning … red roses represent “love”, ninety-nine roses mean “love forever”, and108 roses signify a marriage proposal.

red roses

Historically, the French claim the first Valentine card. Charles, the Duke of Orleans, reputedly wrote the first Valentine card to his second wife, Bonne d’Armagnac in 1416. He sent her a little poem and signed it  “Your Valentine”.

little book of love

Enough … suffice it to say, Valentine's Day or some comparable day for celebrating love is observed pretty much worldwide. As for us, we'll celebrate in our own way. We don't need flowers, or chocolates or hearts. Champers would be nice though. And how will you celebrate this year?

This Side ... That Side

While I've been busy visiting, carousing and generally enjoying family and the holiday season on this side of world (and incidentally freezing my butt off), my captain has been working hard on Nine of Cups and sweating bullets in Africa. Seems hardly fair! I spent a weekend visiting cousins and aging aunties. Here's an excerpt from one of David's emails to give you an idea of the type of weekend he's just experienced ...

“I had a trying day. Nothing seemed to go as planned. The flowcoat fumes were quite annoying with everything open, but then the clouds rolled in and it started raining, so I had to close the hatches and all the starboard ports, making the fumes quite strong. It should have kicked and cured in a few hours, but as of this morning, it is still tacky and stinky. I had written on the can how many drops of MEKP to add to a tablespoon of flowcoat, but either this flowcoat takes a different amount or what I had written was wrong. (He learned later it was 10 drops, not 3-4!).  I'm hoping I can put another coat over it and get it all to kick - if not, I will have to remove the whole mess with a scraper and acetone and start over. I'll do some research, then try a small patch and see. Meanwhile, I closed the doors to the aft cabin, put a couple fans on in there, and planned on sleeping on the settee. I thought with the headache I was getting from the fumes, I'd quit a little early before the Tradewinds Restaurant closed and have dinner out. I brought my shower bag and the computer, so I could send some pix to Gentry, and headed over in the rain. I forgot that Tradewinds closes early on Sunday. I also forgot to download the pix from the stick in the camera. I didn't feel like going over to the other yacht club, so I just showered (hardly necessary with the downpour) and went back to Cups.

flowcoat can

When I got back, I thought that a nice cottage pie would be just the thing to cheer me up. I had some fresh mince (hamburger), which I browned with onions, boiled some potatoes, and opened a can of corn. Then I realized that Worcestershire sauce was still on the shopping list. I must say, cottage pie made with barbeque sauce just isn't the same.

What else? Oh yeah … I filled the water tank yesterday, then noticed the bilge pump was continually cycling on and off. This went on for a good half hour or so, until I finally decided it was more than what I could blame on the tank overflow. I shut it off for the day and will investigate later. Last night the wind began increasing and when I got up to check on things, I noticed the wind gen was not putting out any amps. It was spinning nicely – just no output. So I shut it down and I will need to investigate this as well.

But today is sunny and nice, and surely will be a better day.”

I think I'll call him Saint David for awhile.

Christmas Day 2014 - Never Eat the Last Cookie

I wrote this quite awhile ago, but it never seemed appropriate as a blog post. It's a bit mushy for distribution, we thought. But it's Christmas and we're apart and we thought … maybe, just maybe ... you'd indulge us and overlook the mush and share just a wee bit of our Christmas and year long spirit. couple collage

Do you ever ponder why your relationship is what it is? Good, bad, great or wretched, life is what we make it and so are our relationships. We've been blessed with a good, strong relationship. It's survived children, grandchildren, work, wallpapering, owning a business together, the death of a child and living on a sailboat for nearly 15 years. We don't question that it's good, but sometimes we wonder how it worked out as well it did. We've come to the conclusion that, for us, it all comes down to this philosophy … “Never Eat the Last Cookie”.

It could just as well have been “Don't eat the last serving of ice cream” or more to the point … think of your partner before thinking about yourself. Don't just go the extra step; go the extra mile. Don't take the relationship or each other for granted. And just as importantly, don't suffer in silence if there's something's wrong. Get it out on the table; confront it and make it right again. Take good care of each other.

We've both survived previous marriages that failed and we've thought long and hard about what worked and didn't work in the past. Since we failed previously, perhaps we're not the best advisers on the subject, but then again … maybe we can offer something. We've certainly tried hard to determine what we, as individuals, did or didn't do that caused previous relationships to fail. “It takes two”, they say.  When the lust and the luster of a new relationship wear off, you're left with just yourselves (and sometimes a few extra little people) to cope with and it's just not easy. We've certainly had to work harder at some times than others. We're glad we did.

last cookie

So when you see that last, scrumptious, homemade chocolate chip cookie just sitting there and calling your name ... think twice. Don't eat it. If you subscribe to our philosophy, you'll be sharing it later anyway.

Merry Christmas!