Today is a new day in a new month. February is always a short but somehow painful twenty eight days (made even worse every fourth year when the month is extended by a day). It doesn't matter where we are living; the days are always scarce on daylight but long on gloom. Here in Albania, February will mean more rain filled days, damp conditions on the "dry" ones, and endless expanses of gray. I've found that the key to surviving this month is staying busy. On that front we already have two out of country trips planned with lots of local activities sandwiched in between. And on a daily basis, I'm once again committing to NaBloPoMo, BlogHer's daily blogging challenge. I don't always succeed in posting daily but looking at the NaBloPoMo icon gives me the motivation to at least try.
The NaBloPoMo theme for February 2013 is Love and Sex. The teasers leading up to this month talked about being all hot and bothered. Perhaps it is my age or my stage in life but rather than hearts and butterflies in my stomach, my first thought turned to hot flashes. Yes hot flashes. You know, those hot and sweaty suffocating from the inside out sensations that affect women of a certain age. They aren't pleasant but unfortunately they are a part of life and are unfortunately becoming more and more a part of my own life. It looks and feels as though there are some fun times ahead!
But for most people and the true romantics out there, February is the month of love. You see it everywhere you turn. Store shelves and windows are filled with red and pink hearts, racks are overflowing with greeting cards, super sized boxes of stale chocolates fill store aisles, and teddy bears boasting phrases that are just too cute taunt those who try to avoid them.** For a young and budding romance February 14th may be about flowers, chocolates, and dinner. A more established romance might involve jewelry. Or as is the case in the Brown household, it revolves around a pot of cheese fondue shared amongst three people (and I wouldn't have it any other way). As with everything, life is what you make of it and having this warm and fuzzy day in the middle of the month is something to look forward to in an otherwise gray month. It is also closely followed by President's Day Weekend in the United States (and in US Embassies overseas) which while recognizing our founding father provides us worker bees with a long three day weekend.
So however you choose to look at this month, make the best of it and know that spring is right around the corner. May the month pass quickly and be filled with love and warmth.......even if that warmth comes from hot flashes.
**Here's a fun Valentine's Day fact: the first American Valentine's Day card was made fellow Mount Holyoke College alumnae Esther Howland (Class of 1847) in Worcester, Massachusetts in the 1850s. I bet Howland could never have imagined the consumer driven commercialism craze she was starting.