Norway, Yes-Way

What’s not to love? Water? Good. Mountains? Good. Waterfalls? Good. Snow-capped mountains? Good.

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A few eyebrows raised when we told people we were going to Norway. Norway? What made you choose that? Well it all started with a fjord, and back to the day I didn’t even know what a fjord was. Fjord (pronounced Fi-yord) was just one of those words I would have nodded along with if someone was talking about it, eyes glazing over because I didn’t really know what they were talking about.

But a few years ago I made it to my first Fjord, which is basically a steep canyon cut by glaciers and plunging a mountain into the sea – or, put another way, a sea inlet surrounded by steep mountain cliffs. Translation: my idea of perfection.

My first Fjord experience was in New Zealand – another land rich with, well, EVERYTHING GOOD AND LOVELY. Including a Fjord called Milford Sound. Words fail to describe the happiness I experienced in that majestic place, especially amazing considering the deep unhappiness that had settled in my heart in that life-stage.

I was basically spinning and dancing in glee in that magical place, and my amused husband laughed as I exclaimed “Fjords are my new favorite!” With a twinkle in his eye, he introduced me to a whole new wonder: There was a LAND of Fjords called Norway. Norway? As in, my place of heritage? (My mother’s name was Berg, Norway’s second biggest city is Bergen, so basically, I might be a long-lost Norwegian Princess. All things are possible.). At the least, perhaps a love of mountains and ocean plunged together is just part of my DNA.

And so was born the dream to come to Fjordland, Norway.

We didn’t know if we’d pull it off on this trip, but a string of luck and google diligence and hope all blended together to get us on a cruise ship heading TO and THROUGH Norway’s Fjordland at a fraction of the cost it would take for us to backpack our way through the majestic landscape. We booked the tickets under a “last minute special” about a month prior to sailing, and it took all of my willpower not to mentally check out between the time of booking until the time of embarking.

I was going to Norway. To Fjordland. On a boat – a LUXURY boat! That would carry me and my love and all our STUFF and FEED US and oh heaven smile down.

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And Norway delivered. Amidst both rain and shine, in true Nordic fashion, my heart was lulled and wooed by its ever-changing landscape. It felt like cruising through a storybook – with up to ten waterfalls sometimes in view, with my heart and mind racing to catch up with what my eyes were seeing, with days of sun for my feet to traipse and days for my heart to be quieted by the rain.

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Our first stop was in Eidfjord, a small town with big views.

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And perfectly marked hiking trails. Their slogan should be “Welcome to Eidfjord. If you get lost here, you’re an idiot.” But seriously. Trail after trail, some back to mountain lakes, some alongside the river, some winding through farm and field, and some stumbling through ‘rough pastureland’, filled with too many colors of green for me to count, where the loudest sound was my own footfall. Where, as I took in the new landscape, I actually said out loud “I wonder if this is how babies feel all the time – when they are seeing something new for the very first time?”

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Oh, and the red homes – painted that way because once upon a time it was the cheapest color you could get your hands on. Left over waste from copper mines or something. Don’t quote me, but something like that. And here I thought it was a way to compensate for the often gloomy weather. Nope, just good economic sense. But still, a cheery and distinct flavor of many Norwegian homes.

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The next day brought us further north to Alesund. The clouds were high, but ever present, keeping us close to town instead of exploring the further wildlands of this area. Which was okay because Alesund’s true claim to fame is its Art Nouveau architecture.IMG_3584

Here’s the story: In 1904, the town burned down. The whole thing. All of it. Charred to bits. Because an oil lamp was knocked over. The Germans were among the first to respond with help, and determined to help them rebuild. Art Nouveau was apparently “the rage” with its intricacies and distinctions, and that became the dominant focus of their new architecture. The effect has stood the test of time. It’s truly whimsical. A town of 40,000, it’s one of Fjordland’s biggest cities, but their downtown still has the fairytale feel. Our big event of the day was a 418-step climb to a viewpoint that really did pay off.IMG_3578

And then, oh then … Geirangerfjord.

IMG_3652We were on the first tender boat off to explore this great land, and before the sun had risen over the tallest mountain peak, we were a-climbing. Again, as in France, giving me the heights in meters is so helpful because I always say “that’s nothing”, until I’m huffing and puffing my way up a serious climb.

IMG_3623Oh the glory. AND THE SUN!!!!! Every ray was like a hand-wrapped gift. Even the locals were exclaiming about what a rare day it was. AMEN!IMG_3738

Geirangerfjord was like melting Switzerland into the sea.

Also, the baby goats. Took a bit of time to catch this little fella, but he cozied up after a few bleats of complaint while Mama-goat contentedly ate on nearby.IMG_3683IMG_3696

We climbed a total of 750 meters (see, doesn’t that sound way better than 2500 feet when you’re standing at the bottom and looking up?) to Losta viewpoint and then to something-something-fossen, which means Waterfall. My Norwegian is pretty awesome. After then RACING back down the mountain (ouch), we caught a local bus to experience the famous “Eagle Bend Road” with 11-hairpoint turnsIMG_3658

so you can see THIS. Seven Sisters Waterfall just behind us there. IMG_3744IMG_5220Or something-something-fossen in Norwegian, if you prefer.

THEN (yes, Geiranger was a FULL DAY) we stayed on the bus up towards Mt. Dinalsnibba, which was still closed for the season due to snow still being unstable, but we made it about 2/3 of the way up, to about 1000 meters, and enjoyed a few minutes in a winter wonderland, where yes, Jason got smacked with some snowballs due to my awesome aim.

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That night’s cruise through the Fjord was just beyond words. I mean really. We eventually stopped taking pictures and just soaked it in because it was just like “Really? Really? Just more and more of the pretty.”IMG_3523

 

IMG_3388And then Bergen. Bergen only gets 60 days of sunshine A YEAR, so my expectations were pretty realistic there. Actually, I was kind of excited to experience it in the rain because it’s known as one of the wettest cities in the world. And boy was it! Poured on us the whole time, so we didn’t go too far, but we did have fun sloshing through its streets, picking up a Christmas ornament, one of our favorite things to collect as we travel, and shaking off the wet as we returned to our “cozy” ship.

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All that, and every night on a luxury liner with five-star food, four-star accommodations, and the best company of all. And no, I don’t just mean the chocolate martini and the live violin music. Though that was also a nightly favorite.

Norway? YES-WAY!

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That Time I Snuck OUT of Paris

My Grandma wasn’t what you’d call a share-er. I can still remember how careful we had to be about what we ate at Grandma’s house, because there was our food and her food. This isn’t to say I didn’t love my Grandma or even visiting her home, but sharing just wasn’t high on her virtue list.

Except for one thing. My Grandma loved sharing the world. Her living room wall was adorned by a giant world map, covered with pins pointing to the places she’d visited. At the age of 82, my Grandma is still adding pins to that map. Over Thanksgiving last year we had the most fun googling a possible trip she wanted to take across the Trans-Siberian Railway.

My first semester at college was a biggie – I jumped straight out of my childhood bedroom and into a dorm in Israel. Because precocious.

About mid-way through the semester, I got an email about my Grandma. She wanted to share. Money. With me. The Grandma who didn’t like sharing her can of green beans wanted to give me a thousand dollars. If I used it to travel. And only if.

Well I’m no fool. I rounded up two friends who were game to extend our semester abroad by a few weeks and pop over to Europe. The first $50 of that $1000 was spent on a backpack that was all-too-gigantic for this girl.

Me, Natalie, and Gil traipsed (I told you, traipse is my word for Europe) (link) throughout Greece, Italy, Switzerland, and France. There are so many moments and stories from those three weeks that greatly shaped who I am. Including my palette for travel. Me thinks Grandma knew exactly what she was starting. And I like to think I will someday be the Granny with her world map pricked by multiple pins.

But Paris. Who sneaks out of Paris? This girl.

See, Paris decided to go on strike while we were there. Everything shut down. Including ATM machines. Paris isn’t exactly a society that invites you in for free. And I was far too proud to use my mom’s credit card. Foolish youth.

So we had a few coins in our pockets, and that was it. Natalie and I bought a bottle of water and a baguette to share, and that was our fine meal ala Paris.

The one commodity we had left was our Eurail passes – good to at least guarantee us a night on the train. Any train. Bound for anywhere but there.

And so began the quest to depart. A bit tricky with all the strike-business. Turns out that the trains were still running on schedule, but you couldn’t get a reservation because of the strike. But you couldn’t get on the train without a reservation. And so it went.

The train platform looked like the old movie scenes of people making runs on the banks in It’s a Wonderful Life. And two blonde girls (yes, I was once blonde) jostled and elbowed along with the best of them – with the help of some hefty backpacks.

It didn’t take long to catch on to the scheme. We were told that once the train departed, it was reservation-shmeservation. We just had to get on it.

Attempt number one was a blunder. How do two blondes jostle fifty pound bags onto a train inconspicuously? Answer: They don’t.

We snuck onto that train three different times before we made it past the steps and into an actual compartment, where we huddled with a Brazilian couple who had also snuck on. Without a shared language, we all communicated quite well as we huddled and waited for the rhythm of the train to get. us. OUT. I can still remember us rocking back and forth to the early huffs and puffs of the engine, inwardly chanting I-think-we-can-I-think-we-can-I-think-we-can, very much hoping we would be the little engines that could indeed just leave.

As the train sighed its way out of the station, we all exhaled deeply. We’d made it. Escaped Paris. The City of Lights. Strikes.

So this week I reclaim, dang it. I’m going back to Paris. With my own credit card. And my man. And a hotel reservation. And all the grown-up-things that the last 16 years have taught me.

Paris, I hope you are kind. I hope you love me back this time. Let’s both make Grandma proud and earn you a proper pin in the map, shall we?

Maximizer Problems [Adjustments]

Hi my name is Brooke, and I’m a Maximizer.

I want to squeeze the most out of every minute and every dollar I’ve got to spend on this green earth. I’d rather spend money to save time, but my favorite is when I can save both. I just want to make the best decisions. All the time.

This is a good thing. And also, a threat. In my quest for the-best-everything, I often sacrifice my sanity and enjoyment of what’s right in front of me.

Let’s say, for instance, that I was going to Europe. Let’s just say. Traipsing through the French Alps and Norway, for instance. Traipsing, by the way, is a word I specifically reserve for anytime I leave the country. Something in my soul ignites and I traipse.

When we traipse our way to Paris, a cooking class is on the menu (see what I did there?). There are hundreds of them throughout Paris, and I’m not exactly what you’d call a “sophisticated” student in a kitchen. They could probably teach an egg-cracking class and I’d get something out of it.

Brooke just wants to go to a cooking class with her husband. The Maximizer wants to find the BEST cooking class at the BEST price for the BEST experience to celebrate her BEST marriage. I get caught up in the frenzy of it all.

I want to know which connection we’re taking at what time and where the trains are reliable and where they’re not and oh-my-gosh-can-someone-please-tell-me-the-absolute-best-café-in-this-city-so-I-don’t-waste-my-time-at-some-chintzy-café-I-could’ve-gone-to-at-home!?!?

I don’t want to lose The Maximizer. She’s got some good qualities. I just want to maximize the right things. But the thing is, I’m not celebrating Europe. I’m celebrating in Europe.

And My Marriage is my Most Favorite – it’s worth celebrating. You guys, it’s just so true. My marriage is my most favorite. I don’t know another one like it. I hope all my married friends can say the exact same thing.

Now don’t get me wrong – this marriage has taken hard work. It will take more hard work in days to come. There are days that we don’t exactly show each other Jesus. But most days – most days this man teaches me more about Jesus than I could have ever imagined.

This is the man who drove 12 hours roundtrip to sneak in 12 hours with me just last month as I spent a week away at a conference. THAT’S SO INSANE. Crazy, whackadoo, over the top, insane. Especially since we were sleeping for 8 of those hours.

But that’s love. And that’s what I’ve learned from this man.

I gotta admit: I don’t always offer the crazy love. The Maximizer doesn’t always let me. There would have been more “calculating” in my process. I would have tallied the miles on the car, the gas, and chosen a more economical way to show love – like through a thoughtful text message. Or if I was feeling really crazy, a card via overnight mail.

But not this guy. This guy drove the miles, bought the gas, and gave both days of his weekend because he knew I needed his arms around me. I didn’t even know how much I needed that expensive hug.

This is how my God loves me too – in a totally whackadoo, inefficient, over the top way. Sometimes that’s hard for me to receive. Sometimes I’m calculated there, too. Looking to love Maximizer style – efficiently rather than fully.

But in this is love – not that we first loved Him, but that He first loved us. And gave His only son.

Talk about over the top. I mean, couldn’t anything else have done? Did he have to spend THAT much? Honestly, I don’t know. I mean, I know that theologically there was no answer that would fully cure sin aside from Jesus’ death on the cross. But I also know that it was God’s system to begin with. A bigger mystery than I expect my brain to unwrap. And I’m okay with that.

So I don’t know if He had to. But I know He chose to.

The mystery of marriage is that in the crazy and whackadoo lovey-dovey times, as well as the deep, raw, difficult moments, we are told we’re reflecting God’s truest self.

So that’s what we’re celebrating. Ten years of reflecting God’s heart in some of the most beautiful, most difficult, most surprising, most mysterious, most fun, most crazy whackadoo ways. For better and for worse. THAT is what I want to maximize. Because I’m not celebrating Europe. But I sure as heck am celebrating in Europe.Off We Go!

 

Bon Voyage!

 

 

 

Dancing in the Driveway [NIAW]

“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?” –Henry David Thoreau

This is a week-long series to invite you to look through the eyes of infertility for a moment, as part of the NIAW (National Infertility Awareness Week). This is not a series about the medical condition of Infertility – you can find facts here if interested.

Instead, this series is dedicated to the heart’s awakening to emptiness – and ultimately, to life. Even without an answer. Each day this week, I’ll be sharing a letter that I penned throughout this journey of infertility, as I tried to find words to describe the silent experience. Days filled with hope, cynicism, laughter, tears – and sometimes all at once.

One in eight couples are experiencing infertility right now – about 7.3 million. We are 1 in 8.

Wedding Run

Ten years ago, I was in the middle of full-swing-wedding-planning. We were only engaged for three months (I know, I KNOW!), so it was go-time from the minute that ring was placed on my finger.

There were no doubts. None. I count myself lucky in that regard, because doubt sneaks up on just about every decision I’ve ever made in my life, but I was spared that in the spousal department. It was simply the easiest decision I’d ever made.

I penned this letter to my Jason last year on our ninth wedding anniversary. It was a particularly painful summer as we’d just finished our last unsuccessful fertility treatment, my husband had just lost his job, and we were in the middle of a major home remodel. So umm, I was a little to the left of crazy.

Still, I married a celebrator. A man who is so good – so good – at pulling me out of my own head and helping me celebrate what we have, and we especially love celebrating having each other. As year ten approaches and someone in this marriage is a little less, ahem, crazy, we’re going BIG. We’re celebrating year ten ala Europe, and you’d better believe I’ll be blogging about that goodness.

As NIAW steers to an end, this letter is dedicated to beautiful relationships everywhere. I oh-so-hope that anyone experiencing unplanned unparenthood – or any sacred loss – can dig deep into the relationships they have and find much to celebrate even in the midst of crazy-town.

Dear J,

Nine years ago this morning I woke up as Mrs. Miller for the first time. 3,285 mornings later, waking up to you is still my very favorite part of the day.

There are so many things I didn’t know nine years ago. I didn’t know we would be cuddlers. I didn’t know I could love you more today than I did then.

I didn’t know how hard marriage could be. I didn’t know how bitter a look we could give one another. I didn’t know how we could bring healing to one another’s world.

I didn’t know that we’d dance so well – not the tango or salsa or real dancing – but the dances stolen in the driveway at midnight just because the moon is peaking through the mist.

I didn’t know anyone could know me better than I know myself. Like knowing what I wished I had ordered for breakfast as I look longingly at your plate, and you nudge a fork towards me. Or like that time you packed a book for me to read on vacation so that when I exclaimed, “Dang, I forgot to bring a book”, you were right there. Like knowing my favorite tea. Like the grin and grip of trusting my driving.

I didn’t know that we would explore the world. That my love for airports and cultural foods and all things related to a passport would be shared. That a spirit of adventure would root deeply in us both. That we would sell everything and then buy it back again. That the gleam in your eye – the one that comes on the verge of adventure – would be so alluring.

I also had no idea the storms we’d be asked to weather. The tears we would cry. The nights of deep and dark pain that would penetrate our souls. The losses we’d be asked to bear.

There’s something about those stormy days, though, that make it all the sweeter to hold your hand on the sunny ones like today. There’s something so much richer to clinging to one another when we’ve been through days where it’s all we had to cling to. There is a grace in knowing that this anchor holds. That our relationship isn’t determined by the number of sunny days versus dark days. That our love isn’t circumstantial. That loss, while real, doesn’t define us. That our friendship outweighs our fears.

I’ve been given a rich life with you, my love. I’m thankful every day, but particularly today, day number 3,286.

 

Bringing Sexy Back to Infertility [NIAW]

“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?” –Henry David Thoreau

Resolve to know more. This is a week-long series to invite you to look through the eyes of infertility for a moment, as part of the NIAW (National Infertility Awareness Week). This is not a series about the medical condition of Infertility – you can find facts here if interested.

Instead, this series is dedicated to the heart’s awakening to emptiness – and ultimately, to life. Even without an answer. Each day this week, I’ll be sharing a letter that I penned throughout this journey of infertility, as I tried to find words to describe the silent experience. Days filled with hope, cynicism, laughter, tears – and sometimes all at once. 

One in eight couples are experiencing infertility right now – about 7.3 million. We are 1 in 8.

Keep Calm & Grab a Pee Stick

Infertility brings a lot of, shall we say, interferences. Things like thermometers and ovulation kits and charts can quickly take over your nightstand. Se-xy.

You might be dealing with the super-se-xy side of infertility if …

… you call out “hey Babe, can you grab me a pee stick?”

… a romantic whisper in your ear is “hey, did your temperature spike today?”

… you HAVE TO COME HOME RIGHT NOW. No, seriously. Like right now.

… balancing your chart and your checkbook take the same place on your things-I’m-not-excited-to-do-today-list.

In the midst of making trying to make a baby, sometimes you gotta fight for the sexy.

Today’s letter is in honor of all women everywhere who have turned to the help of thermometers, baby-making-charts, or a smiling pee stick to tell her if she’s ovulating.

Dear pee stick,

Yes you, the one with the smug smile. You’re such a punk. And I think you know it.

I just got you and your smug smile out of the box a few months ago. Because I don’t need you. Or so I want to believe. It’s no big deal having you around when you stare blankly. But on the day you smile, well, I kinda hate you on that day.

I want to throw my hands on my hips and tell you “you’re not the boss of me.” But then you smile patiently, and remind me that you are, actually. You call the shots here and tell me when it’s go-time.

By morning, you’re a science teacher, telling me something interesting about the chemicals in my body and that ovulation is nigh. By mid-afternoon you’re the obnoxious coach who won’t stop with the whistle – alright, already! By evening, you’re the wench in my bedroom.

The hardest part about having you in my life is that I know I will probably see your smug smile again next month, when we are trying. Again. I know this because 48 months of trying have taught me well. We will smile at each other, but only one of us will really mean it. 

So let me tell you something. I’m taking sexy back. I’ll patiently listen as you share your opinion. I’ll heed your advice. And I’ll happily give you credit if you ever earn it. The bathroom is yours, but the bedroom – that’s ours.

 

For more information on infertility, you may visit:

The Day I was the Best Girlfriend Ever

Ten years ago today, I was the Best Girlfriend Ever.

Really, it’s true.  I said so.  Out loud.  To my mom.

See, I’d just come out of a traumatic relationship.  Not a romantic one.  A work one.  On March 18, 2004, I walked away from my job.  Another thing to cross off of my Brave Things I’ve Done list.

So come March 19, 2004, I woke up feeling like a new woman, enjoying her first Day Off in a long time.  I was excited to do whatever I wanted and answer to absolutely nobody.

Then Boyfriend called.  Would I drive out to see him in Riverside?  To watch basketball – it being the middle of March Madness and all.  Could I, would I, be the one to drive to him for a change?  Sigh.  Yes.  Yes I will, because I love you and I’m your Girlfriend and I have a Day Off and blah blah blah.

So, being the Best Girlfriend Ever, I readjusted my day, told my To Do List to wait, turned off Daytime TV, and called my mom to tell her how amazing I was.  How I was so flexible and selfless and was earning girlfriend gold stars and what-not.  How she didn’t snicker at me, I’ll never know.  Mom-powers are amazing and mysterious.

When I got to Boyfriend’s house, he came out to greet me and suggested a brief walk around campus (where he worked, not went to school – no robbing the cradle here).  He then casually suggested we take a drive up to Big Bear, my hometown in the mountains, an hour-ish away.  We’ve never before nor never since “just decided to take a drive to Big Bear.”  It’s always a planned thing.  But I was turning over a new leaf.  Flexibility.  And also, think of my alternative:  watching basketball.  Sure, why not? I said, only briefly reminding him that it was the middle of March Madness.  More girlfriend-gold-stars after all.  If texting had been a thing back then, my mom would have been getting a play-by-play oh my awesome-ness.

With each mile we drove up the mountain, I repeatedly thought this is so weird that we’re just taking a random trip to Big Bear.  But instead of thinking – even ONCE – about it in a suspicious manner, it only furthered my own sense of girlfriend-greatness.

A handful of hours after I graciously swept my day aside in favor of time with my Beau, we pulled into a parking lot near the lake “to take a walk.”  Still not suspicious.  Seriously?  Seriously.

Until I saw the candles.  Forming a path to the lakeshore.

And heard Boyfriend’s breathing change.

I caught my own breath as I realized this was IT.

He led me down the candle-lit path pre-set by his little engagement elves, back down to the lakeshore where years before he had turned me away, making today the day he’d reclaim that territory and ask me to say yes to forever.

Years before, I had prayed just one prayer about the day I might be asked to marry someone.  Please God, just let me KNOW the answer, whether it’s yes or no, I want it to be clear.  No doubt, no hesitation.  I simply couldn’t fathom being stuck somewhere in the middle and answering with an Uhhhh, ummmm, welllll.

And there on that fateful day, a resounding Yes! came out of my mouth as naturally as the air I breathe.

Sometimes Jason will whisper in my ear, Thanks for saying yes, and I always answer back, Thanks for asking.  I’ve never lost sight of just how amazing it is to be asked.

Somewhere in the darkness a ring was slipped on my finger – the same one that rests there today.

A little known-fact is that Boyfriend and I didn’t kiss, not even when Boyfriend became Fiancée.  A fact that shocked even my mother.  I’m pretty sure she said something about owing a guy a kiss if he gives you a diamond ring.  But it’s just something we decided to save for our wedding day.  Not in any holier-than-thou way, but more because we knew our triggers and didn’t need to add another one.  So I got a diamond but Boyfriend-turned-Fiancee didn’t get a kiss.  Yet.

When it all caught up with me, I felt a teeny bit chagrined about the self-applause I’d given myself all day.  Way to go, Brooke, you are sooooo selfless.  You were willing to clear your schedule and be available for a proposal.  Bravo.

When we then made our way to my family’s house for a pre-orchestrated celebration party, my mom’s grin said it all.

Wow, did I really just brag to you all day about what an awesome girlfriend I am?  Yes.

And you knew the whole time that he’d be proposing and not watching basketball?  Yes.

It’s a good thing that I was the Best Girlfriend Ever that day, since it was my last day as a girlfriend.

Engagement Pic

(Also, we were just baaaabies!)

My Valentine’s Day Tip

Step one:  Locate a florist

Step two:  Pick up a phone

Step three: Do not order flowers.  Repeat:  do not order flowers. 

Step four:  Instead, ask if they need delivery drivers. 

Step five:  Show up valentine’s morning – whether solo, with a friend, or your valentine – ready to fill your car with the scent of long-stemmed roses, daisies and forget me nots.

Step six:  Enjoy guessing people’s stories based on the type of flowers and their reaction to receiving them. 

Step seven:  Return home with cash in your pocket and a smile in your heart.  

Delivering flowers is my favorite way to spend Valentine’s Day.  I’ve signed up as a delivery driver three or four different years.  196 million roses are delivered on Valentine’s Day.  Yes, one hundred and ninety-six million.   Whether you’re for or against the whole Valentine’s Day thing, that’s a whole lotta delivered roses.

I first jumped in on the action over a decade ago, back when I drove a shiny black truck and had to rely on a Thomas Guide to get me to the next address for delivery.  Yes, a THOMAS GUIDE, people.  As in, a map on PAPER – with no shiny blue dot to tell me where I was or a red one to tell me where I wanted to end up.  I can’t even explain how crazy lost I got in Mission Viejo.  If I had to use a Thomas Guide today, I’d probably end up in Denver before I could find Laguna Niguel.

And I still can’t believe how many vases of long-stemmed roses I crammed into the cab of my truck.  Confession:  someone somewhere received 11 long-stemmed roses that day, because one snapped off in transport and I umm, hid it among the others.  I know, I KNOW.

When I got married, I told Jason about this little trick and so instead of dropping a lot of cash on buying each other Valentine’s gifts, we turned it into a day to make cash together.  I mean, a whole day together making money by delivering beautiful gifts that other people paid for and a chance to see the first smile of surprise when someone realizes “you’re here to deliver those to me?”  Win!  

So, whether single or married or somewhere in between, my little Valentine’s Day tip is that you can have just as much – or maybe even more! – fun giving as receiving.  Seriously, so. much. fun.

This year, we will be up in San Francisco for a little getaway, but you better believe I’ll have my eye out for people delivering flowers, smiling at the memories they’re making for themselves.  Even if it involves a snapped rose or two.