On Love and Its (Sometimes Tacky) Expressions

Most days of the year, and our lives for that matter, are unremarkable. They pass, collect and fade. Devoid of pomp and circumstance, these are the days when love is formed. Small gestures amass, moments compound. It’s anti-climactic, really. And though it’s not what I’ve been told for 31 years that it would be (I’m looking at you Walt Disney Productions), that’s okay. A slow and steady build has suited an emotionally-reluctant Kitty Lemieux just fine.

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Love[1], I think, is experienced as a deep and crescendoing sense of peace—one I didn’t even know I wanted until I found myself in its gentle grasp. Its growing presence flew under the radar, unidentified for a long time. We’ve been conditioned to be on the lookout for fireworks, but there is no sudden burst of bliss that screams out “L-O-V-E!” loud and clear. And just as we don’t tend to experience love in a conspicuous fashion, we also don’t tend to express it in that way. Hence why Valentine’s Day serves a purpose.

Cynics describe Valentine’s Day as a hollow corporate construction, and they’re quick to criticize those who observe it with exchanged words and tokens of affection. “You should give gifts randomly and show your partner you love them year round!,” they sneer. They’re right, but a statement like this makes the assumption that you don’t do those things. It’s important to remember that random gestures are not forbidden; they are not relegated to a single 24-hour period. As Alana Massey so eloquently puts it, “Valentine’s Day is just the day designated for us to hold out these offerings, the puny avatars for the mammoth beast of love, and make our love visible. They are the tacky iconography depicting something real even if they depict it inaccurately.”

For me, past February 14ths have yielded plenty of tacky iconography. 2/14/15 was no exception, but it was one for my personal history book. What was the difference, you ask? Sono innamorata. 

In all of its sugary, heart-laden glory, here’s what my V-Day consisted of:

The sweets. It wouldn’t be a Kitty Lemieux occasion without them. I decided to try mini cheesecakes shaped like conversation hearts. They were much tastier than those chalky Necco® abominations.

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(Tip: Whip up your favorite cheesecake recipe and color batches of batter as you like with gel food coloring. Pour into Wilton silicone heart molds. After being refrigerated for several hours, hand paint the phrases of your choice using red gel. Don’t forget to use a brand new or food-only paint brush!)

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My boyfriend and I had fun making these chocolate-covered strawberries while listening to my favorite album on vinyl, Lou Rawls Live.

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The mystery box.  I couldn’t reveal its contents in my last post. Now I can.

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The terrarium. Months ago my boyfriend gave me a beautiful orchid, which promptly shed its petals and died. Since then our doomed “love orchid” has been a sad, ongoing joke. I refused to give up on it! With the remaining moss, I created something even grander—a love forest complete with miniatures that represent the two of us—him, a guitar, and me, cupcakes. I made and hand painted the toadstools and flowers.
(Tip: When the clay is still moldable, stick a couple inches of thin-gauge floral wire in the bottom of each item. This assures that they’ll stand up and stay put when inserted into the ground cover.)

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The card. Come on, you know I wouldn’t BUY a card. I love books, so this theme seemed fitting.

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(Tip: The card was created with a combination of Excel, Washi tape, baker’s twine and many hours of cursive lettering practice.)

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Part of the gift was what’s in the left pocket—a page ripped out of my gratitude journal. Put whatever extra love notes you like in there!

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The company. My other favorite loverboy, Puddintaine “Mousse” Pettibone, joined us.

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So, that’s it. No fancy dinner reservation or expensive gifts. Just a boy, a girl, a standard poodle and some cheesecakes, together creating more moments for the collection.

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[1] Disclaimer: I have no previous experience with such matters of the heart.

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