To those in the United States, Happy Fourth of July. So as not to be completely remiss, to those in Canada, a belated Happy Canada Day.
Now that I’ve lured you in with a picture of Independence Day fireworks, I’m going to share a different picture. This has been going around on Facebook for a few days, and I think we all need the reminder.
I check the box for immigrants. All four of my grandparents came to the United States from Eastern Europe in the early 20th century. I only exist because they fled to the this country before the Holocaust. All of my family who did not leave died in the concentration camps.
My husband’s family has been here a bit longer. On one side, he has ancestors who fought in the American Revolution. On the other, Scots-Irish who came to the U.S. just after the Civil War. But he is still the descendant of immigrants.
And whether or not you are also able to tick off some of the other boxes on that short list, so are you.
On the one hand, for most of us, today is a happy day. Memorial Day weekend in the U.S. marks the unofficial start of summer. And it’s a three-day weekend, and for those of us who get to take the whole thing off, three-day weekends are always excellent.
On that oh-so-infamous other hand, the holiday we are celebrating is not technically happy. Memorial Day was set aside to honor all those who served our country, and who fell while wearing its uniform.
Today I’d like to welcome Kristan Higgins, the author of the recent Now That You Mention It as well as the absolutely marvelous Blue Heron series. (Anything for You was my personal favorite).As this is a Blog Tour for Valentine’s Day recommendations, Kristan is here to tell us her favorite Valentine’s tradition. And don’t we all remember the dread of having to give Valentine’s to every kid in the class?
Pizza, Books & Valentine’s Day
by Kristan Higgins
Here’s a little secret I’m somewhat loath to admit—I hate Valentine’s Day. When I was a kid, we’d have to give every single one of our classmates a card, and I’ll confess: Joey L. did not deserve a Valentine from me, no sir. Nor did Kate M., who was always mean.
Even then. the holiday smacked of forced good cheer. When I was in college, the poor lad I dated would give me a gas station rose, or worse, write me a poem and then read it to me, and I’d sit, twitching, waiting for the recitation to end.
As a young married couple, McIrish and I once made a Valentine’s Day reservation at a lovely Italian restaurant. That night, the servers were harried and forgetful, and the restaurant was mobbed with couples feeling the pressure to be romantic. No one was proposed to, though I’m pretty sure one young woman was waiting, because she got more and more tense as the night went on (eavesdropping is one of my great gifts). The food, which was usually so good, was mediocre, and McIrish and I decided not to go out anymore. These days, I usually draw McIrish, my sainted husband, a cartoon of the two of us. Some grown-up snuggling may ensue. Sometimes I make him pudding or crème brulée in the heart-shaped ramekins we got as a wedding gift.
Truthfully, the best Valentine’s Day I can remember was when I was living alone, working in a strange city, no friends. A bouquet of flowers arrived at my workplace, signed “From Your Secret Admirer.” I immediately called my dad to thank him, and, bless his heart, he played dumb.
When I got out of work, I went home to my little apartment, got a pizza from the restaurant below, and read a book. A romance novel, of course. No pressure, no expectations… just me with two of the great loves of my life: pizza and a good book.
About Now That You Mention It
One step forward. Two steps back. The Tufts scholarship that put Nora Stuart on the path to becoming a Boston medical specialist was a step forward. Being hit by a car and then overhearing her boyfriend hit on another doctor when she thought she was dying? Two major steps back.
Injured in more ways than one, Nora feels her carefully built life cracking at the edges. There’s only one place to land: home. But the tiny Maine community she left fifteen years ago doesn’t necessarily want her. At every turn, someone holds the prodigal daughter of Scupper Island responsible for small-town drama and big-time disappointments.
With a tough islander mother who’s always been distant and a wild-child sister in jail, unable to raise her daughter–a withdrawn teen as eager to ditch the island as Nora once was–Nora has her work cut out for her if she’s going to take what might be her last chance to mend the family.
But as some relationships crumble around her, others unexpectedly strengthen. Balancing loss and opportunity, a dark event from her past with hope for the future, Nora will discover that tackling old pain makes room for promise…and the chance to begin again.
For those actually celebrating this Labor Day weekend, Happy Labor Day! Today marks the unofficial end of summer.
However, those living in Houston Texas, or anywhere within the path of Hurricane Harvey, are probably still laboring in one way or another, either to mop up damage, or just to figure out what to do now that the storm if over and the recovery has barely begun.
We have friends in the Houston area, and are grateful that their ride through the hurricane was relatively mild. Their house is on high ground, and they suffered only minor damage to one car. They were lucky, when so many people were not.
Ironically, at this time last year, when I wrote my Labor Day post we were tracking the path of Hurricane Hermine. As trends go, this one sucks. And very, very definitely blows.
Stay safe, wherever you are spending your Labor Day.
Once upon a time, Labor Day weekend was the last free weekend kids had before school started and homework began. Today many schools start in August, and Labor Day weekend isn’t quite what it used to be. But it is still a 3-day weekend and most places usually have good weather.
Although when we lived in Anchorage, Labor Day Weekend usually heralded the sighting of “Termination Dust” – the first visible snowfall on the Chugach Mountains that surround the Anchorage bowl. It was an unmistakable, but unwelcome, sign that winter was coming.
This year might be different. As I write this on Thursday, Hurricane Hermine is headed for the Florida Gulf Coast, which means a whole lotta rain in the southeast as it tracks its way across Florida and south Georgia heading for the Carolinas. Atlanta is a bit too far north for the actual hurricane, but I expect plenty of stormy weather on its fringe.
I also want to know who is responsible for the name “Hermine”. It should be Hermione. She brought plenty of bad weather to the forces of darkness in the Harry Potter books. A hurricane named in her honor would be totally appropriate.
I hope you are having a terrific Labor Day Weekend, wet or dry.
Today is the 240th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It was the beginning of the “American Experiment” which has mostly worked, but has certainly had its ups and downs in the intervening two plus centuries. Which years are the “ups” and which ones are the “downs” is something that history will have to decide.
For those of you in the U.S., I hope you have a fantastic three-day weekend. We can see the village fireworks, just like in the picture above, from our front yard. The cats will be cowering somewhere in the house, wishing for the “night of big booms” to finish up and leave them to their late evening naps.
Consider this message a belated New Year’s Day post. My webhost was down on January 1, suffering from a Denial of Service (DOS) attack. While I often pre-schedule posts so that I don’t have to sit down at my computer every day, not being able to post is no fun. It’s good to be back. Hopefully for good!
Even a day late for New Years, it is never too late to thank everyone who reads these pages for being a loyal follower, and to wish everyone a safe, happy and of course bookish New Year.
The picture above is from the annual New Year’s Eve celebration here in Duluth Georgia. A good and not too cold time was had by all. And I always love a good fireworks show!
As someone who does not celebrate Christmas, my attitude is sometimes a lot like the one that Grumpy Cat exhibits above. Some of my fondest Christmas memories are of driving around Chicago at Christmastime, listening to a compilation of Dr. Demento Christmas carols and hunting out the most outrageous and over-the-top Christmas light displays in the neighborhood.
This year, no one seems to be dashing through the snow – mostly because there isn’t any snow! Except, of course, for Anchorage, none of the places that we have lived are remotely cold enough to snow this year. Not even Chicago! And the northeast is having a heat wave. (We’ll be in Boston in a couple of weeks, and I’m crossing my fingers for the unseasonable warmth to continue!)
But seriously, even though Christmas is not everyone’s holiday, this year, just like every year, we could all use a little more “peace on earth and goodwill to all”.
So Happy Holidays, Season’s Greetings, Merry Christmas, Happy (belated) Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa and best wishes for whatever you celebrate this year. Including the two lovely four day weekends in a row!