Hearts, Flowers, and … Sand?

Just a couple of minutes ago, I was chatting with my friend S, who lives in New Zealand, and, in the course of the conversation, I apologized for being late back from an away-period, because I’d gotten distracted while making tea. (Or at least, the plan was tea; I’m actually sipping cocoa – it’s the kind of day that REQUIRES chocolate.)

The exchange went like this:

Me: Got distracted while waiting for water to boil – found the Valentine’s Day box.
S: oh?
Me: Must start decorating this weekend.
S: ??? you’re kidding me???
S: Just a few hearts and red candles around the house. Nothing major.
S: *blink* you’re serious
Me: Yeah.
S: *blink* We give cards, and chocolate, we send flowers, we have romantic dinners… well that’s the theory anyhow
Me: Yes, we do that.
S: I’ve never heard of the house being decorated before like a major festive event.

I don’t know when my mother began decorating for Valentine’s day, but the presence of hearts and flowers in the house from late-January to mid-February is one I remember from childhood. For all I know, it may have started with me bringing home red construction-paper hearts. For all I know, it may have been something my grandmother started.

Please understand, it’s not that we decorate for this holiday on the same level as Christmas. Not even close. Yes, I tape a few cupids and hearts to the windows, and bring out red candles, and heart=shaped candles. And yes, I try to have more flowers in the house – but then, I ALWAYS try to have fresh flowers in the house, and even Fuzzy has learned to pick seasonal bouquets if he’s not sure what to buy.

One of the things I love about seasonal decorations is that I tend to forget what I have, from one year to the next. Oh, I remember the big stuff, but, until I opened the box this afternoon, I’d forgotten the candle with candy hearts in the bottom third, or the red heart garland for dressing up the front-door wreath.

Oh, right. The wreath. My pine wreath is still on the front door, just as the pine ring candle holder (adorned with teeny cardinals) is still on the kitchen table. Pine isn’t just for Christmas, but for all of winter, so we leave the wreath up, leave one of the three 2-foot trees up, and leave the candle-holder, and just change the trimmings to heart-themes. (Really, the house is pretty big, so this isn’t a lot of stuff).

I love that the house always feels special, and that things change enough to keep me from getting bored. Fuzzy loves that I change decorations, and not the furniture. Well, not all of the furniture. I did move my desk the other day.

As to the sand in the title of this entry? When I was getting the house ready for my parents, I found the Beach Box my aunt had made for me when I was in South Dakota, and bemoaning the fact that I was in a landlocked state. It was full of shells she’d picked up from the beach near her house in Connecticut – lovely shells, pine cones, feathers, and a bit more beach glass, and so I’ve scattered the shells around the house, where I already had other shells, in jars, or larger shells holding beach glass. (In a mild fit of whimsy, I stacked many of the shells in a fish shaped ceramic dish, which now sits on my hearth).

This is my world for the next month: flowers, candles, hearts, and sand.