A Candlelit Evening…Or, how I spent my Valentine’s Day


My Monday started just like any other–wake at 6am, force myself out of bed at about 6:08 grumbling the whole time, and then get ready for the day. I put on a turquoise dress, couldn’t decide if it fit me correctly or not, and then had a moment of panic. How could I possibly wear a turquoise dress on Valentine’s Day? If you know me at all, you know that I will use any excuse to dress up (except Spirit Week in college–more on that later). Themed outfits are what I live for. Whenever I put together a look in the morning I label it. Last week my looks ranged from “Teen Pop Sensation” to “Sophisticated Funk” to “India-Yoga-Hippy”.  You might even say that I wear a costume every day–but I would not go that far. Think, instead, that I am just singling out and exposing different facets of my self every time I explore a different look.

All that being said, Monday’s theme was black and red. I actually thought the outfit was pretty tame compared to some of my get-ups, but I still managed to make an impression on a lot of people. I wore red tights, a black dress, black low heels, with a tiny red bow in my hair. I also wore my red trench coat for the outer layer (which is a tad too big now.) I often pair bright tights with a dimmer outfit (as in today when I paired turquoise tights with a grey cowl-neck dress and black boots) but I think people took more notice because it was Valentine’s Day. My Music History teacher told me I looked nice, then told me it “Made sense that I was in theatre–it was like home to me”. All of the men in Admissions (including the administrators who walked in) told me that I looked really nice, and asked what the special occasion was–why I was dressed so nicely. The women just stared at them, laughed, and one even said, “Wow, you all don’t get out much do you?” (I see these men weekly, and I am always dressed “nicely”. Your business casual is my comfy casual. Your semi-casual is my grubby lab-day casual. Your casual is my “oh my goodness I feel nasty today I am never wearing this again”.)

I never intended for this description of what I was wearing to get so out of hand, I’ve veered far away from the actual story so if you haven’t fallen asleep or left the page already I will try to be a tad more concise. I just felt that in order for you to truly enjoy my Valentine evening you should have a picture of how I looked. (I realize that how I looked has no effect whatever on my story. Drat. Too late now.)

After many classes and yoga, gym time was canceled due to my workout partner having a facial, which was just as well as I had tons of homework. I went home, practiced some Strauss, and then got the unshakable urge to bake a cake. I wanted an Angel Food Cake but that would have taken all of our egg whites (and none of our egg yolks) and I also had all of the homework looming over me. Instead I opted for a simple chocolate cake. I mixed up the batter, got it into the oven, and planned on making  a ganache to drizzle over the top. I didn’t have enough ingredients, so I settled for creating chocolate whipping cream instead (non-sweetened.) The cake went in without incident and I settled down on the couch for my hot double-date with Moliere and Louis XIV. I’d started the book over a week ago, but things just kept interfering and here I was down to the deadline with my book report due Tuesday morning, and I still had to read Othello afterward.

It was only about 6pm so I thought I would have plenty of time. I was trucking along in my delightful book, the cake came out of the oven and was cooling, and at about 6:20 suddenly everything went dark. Our power has not gone out for years, I’d forgotten what it was like. We live on a ridge, and without the constant house hum I could not only hear the howling wind, it became the only thing I could hear. Gone was the occasional clicking of the heater, gone were the electronic hums of the refrigerator, freezer, washer and dryer, and gone was the sound of television from upstairs where my mother was sitting. Especially gone were the softly-buzzing lights. I still had about 200 pages to go.

Not alarmed I carefully made my way to my room and dug out all of my candles. I was down to the bottom of my stash, and all I had were a few tea lights and some scented candles. I knew my mother was sitting in the dark so I took candles into the Bonus room, along with my book, and started to read. That was when I started to feel the cold leeching in through the windows, without the heater to combat the temperature. Almost immediately my mother complained about the scented candles so I left her a tea light and returned to my room where I lined up about 6 tea lights, one orange scented candle, and one chocolate scented candle that had been stuffed into a bottom drawer because I did not really like it. I wrapped myself in my blankets, grabbed my book, propped myself up within about two inches of the candles, and spent about the next three hours finishing my book.

Under normal circumstances it would not have taken me that long to read, but when the light is dim and flickering, for some reason it is harder to focus on the page. I would not recommend reading by candlelight, or at least not by tea light. I finally finished the book, exhausted, and was worrying  if my teacher would accept a hand-written, double-spaced paper. (Also, the whole time the power was out I was constantly thirsty, and constantly worrying about using the restroom. When the power returned, these feelings vanished.) At this time however, thank heavens, the power was divinely restored and the eerie silence was washed away in the gentle glow of energy-conscious light bulbs. I typed up my book report, decided that I was too exhausted for much of Othello, and went to sleep.

How’s that for a Valentine’s Night? (Also–chocolate cake eaten in the dark is richer than chocolate cake eaten in the light. It’s science.)

It worked out well as we spent today in Shakespeare talking about our papers and not Othello, and if I ever get off the internet I will be able to finish Othello here at work. Isn’t life delicious?

Valentine’s is always such a non-entity for me (having never had a “Valentine”) so it was nice for the exciting change! See, single women deserve candles and chocolate too!

What did you do for Valentine’s Day?

Wishing you a distraction-free evening, to get done what you need to accomplish!

Sincerely,

a glowing-from-caffeine Emilie

P.S. As to “Spirit Week” in college. I don’t have many words, other than the fact that I can’t believe we are having one. It’s bad enough that we have a Homecoming court, having a dress-up Spirit Week in conjunction with the dance grosses me out. It’s just so…high school.

P.P.S. Over the weekend, in addition to some sewing, lots of homework and cleaning, lovely massage, accompanist time, I also went through my closet (again) and got rid of things that no longer fit me (again.) I also went through everything I had previously discarded in the basement, and there were over six moving boxes full of clothing I can no longer wear. That is insane. I’m in a bit of a pickle as I don’t have a lot left, and not much money to buy new clothing. Also–I am going to lose two more sizes so I am uncertain of what to do in the interim. Should I buy a couple of inexpensive items to hold me over until I’ve met my goal, or should I just go ahead and find a way to get some clothes so I have things to wear now? It wouldn’t be so bad if it were warm outside, but I just do not have a wet-winter-appropriate wardrobe.

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