Ode to February
by Valerie Nusbaum
February is the shortest month of the year, but it’s a special month because every four years a February 29th comes along. Our second calendar month is home to Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, and President’s Day. February is also the most likely month to play host to a blizzard.
For me, though, February is a major work time. It’s generally the time when I start spring cleaning. I clean out closets and drawers. I donate items we don’t use or need, and I throw away things that aren’t worth donating. Almost nothing makes me feel as good as organizing and straightening cabinets, closets, and drawers.
I also spend a lot of time in my studio in February. It’s great to be able to look out the window at the bleak landscape while I paint something colorful and bright. I also do a lot of thinking as I stare out the window, and sometimes I’m reminded of things my family would rather I forget……
One day Randy mentioned that he was craving Mexican food. I may not always let on that I’m listening while he ruminates, but I do hear him; so I thought I’d surprise him with some homemade enchiladas, rice and beans for dinner the next day. I chopped and cooked, grated cheese, and set out chips and salsa for my hungry hubby when he came home after a hard day at the office. He seemed to enjoy the meal and thanked me profusely. Then he leaned back in his chair and said, “I’m going to sit here and think about what I might be craving for tomorrow night.”
I looked over and said, “Let me help you out with that. Tomorrow night, you’ll be craving leftovers.”
Then there was the time my mother was visiting. It wasn’t a planned visit. Mom had spent the night in the hospital, and I insisted that she come home with us for a few days to rest and recover. She didn’t have any toiletries or makeup with her, so I offered her the use of anything I had on hand. She said she could make do with her own lipstick and asked if she could borrow an eyebrow pencil. I was busy doing laundry or some such, so I told her where to look and to help herself.
When I went back upstairs, Mom was in the bathroom and she called me in. She asked me how her eyebrows looked, and I tried not to laugh. Honestly, I did.
“They look fine except for one little thing,” I said. “You do know that they’re blue, don’t you?” Mom had grabbed a blue eyeliner pencil instead of the one she wanted, and she evidently couldn’t see well in the bathroom light.
I’ve gotten off track here. We were discussing all the things there are to do in February. Don’t forget Mardi Gras. Yes, we’re a long way from New Orleans, but a lot of people I know join in the celebration. Some of them even lift their shirts and beg for beads. Granted, that’s not a great thing to do in the grocery store, but I’ve seen it happen.
Speaking of grocery stores, February is the month when we can all get our Kinkling Day fix. My mother-in-law used to do “donut day” in February, where she made and fried lots and lots of donuts and then covered them and herself in powdered sugar. Randy told me that he loved walking through her kitchen door and sitting down to a platter of warm donuts.
Don’t forget about the Super Bowl, which (I think) is played on the first Sunday in February. Lots of people enjoy watching the game, and even more enjoy the snacks, drinks, and food included in a proper Super Bowl viewing—big pots of chili, chips and dips, hot dogs, hoagies, and beer, beer, beer. Randy and I are Baltimore Ravens fans, and while our team made it to the playoffs this year, they lost the wild card game. We’ll still watch the Super Bowl and I’ll make the food, but it won’t be the same for us without a horse in the race. We’ll rate the commercials like everyone else. In an aside, I’d like to point out to the Ravens owners that absolutely no one looks good in purple. I’m just saying.
If Randy gets a Super Bowl party, I get an Oscars party. Since Randy is in charge of the food for this one, I might be served a pizza, but I love pizza, so that’s okay. I don’t usually watch the awards show, but I do enjoy seeing some of the red carpet antics. Celebrities crack me up with all their preening and the fact that most of them can’t string together enough intelligent words to form a sentence. Randy always says that he can’t understand how a star can have writers and minions at his disposal, and still can’t give an acceptance speech that makes sense. He also tells me every single year that it’s very apparent that Hollywood believes it invented the bosom.
My point here is that there’s a lot to do in a very short time in February. Whatever YOU do, I hope you’re warm, safe and well-fed.