A Married Valentine’s Day

Hello all,

I’m working on a series about gaming (board games as well as video games) but it needs more time to come together. I’ve been poking my brain for a few days to see what, in the way of blog post topics, might fall out. Lots of things did. Almost all related to books (recently covered) and games (the series grows longer).

I wanted to write something relevant to Valentine’s Day and…I didn’t really come up with anything cute or stirring. Just…I like Valentine’s Day. Always have, even pre-relationship when I spent every Valentine’s Day fending off people’s pitying looks and watching movies while eating ice cream and chocolate and cheesecake.

Red was my favorite color for most of my life (jury’s still out for my current favorite color). My mom used to make cupcakes on Valentine’s Day every year. I enjoy a focus on showing affection for others, enjoying flowers, demonstrating love for others even if you don’t tend to on other days of the year. Plus, any excuse to eat sweets is a good one in my book. I also love romance stories, romantic mysteries, romantic comedies. I love hanging out with my friends. I got to do all of these on Valentine’s Day.

This year is Tyler’s and my first Valentine’s Day as a married couple. But there doesn’t feel like much to report.

Last night we went out to our favorite Thai restaurant, Ladda Bistro, preempting the Thursday-night crowds. He got crispy duck, I got Pad See Ew; his was better, but mine was also very good. The pork dumplings were excellent, and we loved the mango sticky rice dessert. I had bought us 2 cupcakes from Smallcakes earlier that day, so we each had half for a second dessert right before bed.

On Valentine’s Day, we’ll probably cook dinner and play a board game, as Thursdays are our board game night. Tyler plans to buy me flowers. He already gave me a mug that says “girlfriend, fiancee, wife.” I ordered him a gift in a similar vein that hasn’t arrived yet. We might cut into the top tier of our wedding cake, which my bridesmaid Nicole has been saving for us in her freezer.

It’s probably because we’re newlyweds and at least a little obnoxious to everyone else right now (sorry, we don’t mean to be), but Valentine’s Day doesn’t feel like as much of a big deal as in felt in years past. And I’m perfectly fine with that. I’m perfectly fine with every day being a little more romantic and sweet than I’m used to. I’m glad that I’m thinking about better ways to love Tyler every day. But I have really enjoyed wearing my Valentine’s Day socks this week.

What are you doing for Valentine’s Day this year? Any good restaurant recommendations?

Making a Change

I intentionally build rhythms into my life. Doing so helps me track the days and gives me things to look forward throughout the week. Something unique to that day of the week breaks the mundane, but I prefer when that event is in itself a part of a larger, familiar rhythm. For example:

Monday – Water plants, Bible study
Tuesday – Favorite webtoon (online comic) is updated, new blog post
Wednesday – Water plants
Thursday – Game night with Tyler
Friday – Water plants, work blog updates, night “off”
Saturday – change out towels, laundry
Sunday – church, lunch with Tyler’s family

Other items—dinner with a friend, exercise, errands, trips to the grocery store, scrubbing the tub—I slot in to the open spaces.

The goal of my schedule is to build a healthy life. Over the years I’ve struggled to give myself enough structure to get things done that are important to me but maintain enough flexibility that I’m not over-scheduled. When I have too much on my list for the week, I feeling stifled and, if I don’t meet my own expectations for a day, I feel like I failed.

The feeling of failure is very bad for my confidence, productivity, and general well-being. I’m too much like Hermione in that way. Especially if I’m already tired or having a bad day.

On the other hand, when I’m not scheduled enough, things fall through the cracks and become habits I’m embarrassed to claim. Like my inconsistent writing schedule. Like my infrequent calls home. Like my lack of exercise. These are made more complicated by my sharing time and space with another person (which is also a very new and very big change in my life that I need to make some allowances for). They’re also complicated by my personal dislike of exercise in general and the fact that dishes are never ending. I did dishes and cleaned the entire kitchen Sunday after I made too many pigs-in-blankets for the Super Bowl, but there was already an imposing tower of tupperware sitting by the sink last night. And then there’s the whole “3 meals a day” thing.

I’ve been toying with the idea of buying a month’s pass at a local yoga studio, which would let me attend as many classes in a month as I want. To make the price worth it, I’d need to go to 2 or 3 classes a week. Honestly, that sounds like the type of schedule I’m going to resent and ultimately fail to keep up. I need to make exercise a habit again, but I don’t want to pay for something I may not get the most use out of. At the same time, I’ve had a list of yoga YouTube videos on my phone for years and have yet to turn those free resources into a habit. I used to walk 3 times a week, but my schedule changed when Tyler and I got engaged, and recently my walking buddy moved.

And so I do nothing. I continue to do nothing. But I need to make a change. The earlier I start the sooner those habits will form. Despite how much my life has changed in the past few months, despite how much I yearn for a steady rhythm, I know I’ll feel better when I’m claiming better habits. And I should be make changes one habit at a time.