Celebrating Valentine’s Day

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“Loving is not just looking at each other, it’s looking in the same direction.”  ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

At our house, Valentine’s Day isn’t just your average holiday. It’s also my husband’s birthday — which I enjoy just as much as he does, since it means cashing in the “free birthday dinner” coupons he’s accumulated this month. We won’t have to cook dinner for a full week!

More than anything, really, Valentine’s Day is an opportunity for all of us to think about the people we love and what they mean to us. What makes a relationship work? What makes love last? What can we do to make each other happy?

With that in mind, Royal Oak Patch editor, Judy Davids, is running a month-long interview series featuring local couples. Doug and I were honored to be a part of this series, and you can read our interview here.  Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

A colonoscopy column?

Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worse kind of suffering.” — Paulo Coehlo

The very idea of a colonoscopy — any time of the year — was more sobering than finding my first AARP card in the mailbox after I turned 50. Which is partly why I kept avoiding it.

As I recently discovered, the procedure itself wasn’t all that bad. It was waiting for the results of the pathology report that scared the dickens (or Dickens) out of me — especially so close to the holidays. Please click here to read the rest of “Blessings in a Biopsy” on Royal Oak Patch. It’s unlike any other Christmas column you’ve read before! — CL

Holiday party manners

Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.  ~Washington Irving

My mother has been in the hospital since the day after Thanksgiving, and it looks like she’ll be spending several weeks recovering in a rehab center. While waiting for calls from the hospital, I’ve kept busy working on a series of holiday columns and photos for AOL’s Patch Holiday Guide.  The first is a guide to modern holiday manners. It’ll tell you everything you need to know about holiday etiquette — including how to pick out hostess gifts and how to be the guest who gets invited back. Please click here to read it. — CL

— Photo of a holiday display at Leon & Lulu in Clawson, by Cindy La Ferle —

Cats and more cats!

You will always be lucky if you know how to make friends with strange cats.” — English proverb

According to the Feral Cat Coalition, wild (or “feral”) cats are the offspring of domestic cats. These feral kitties are the result of negligent pet owners who abandon their pets — and fail to spay or neuter them.

Feral cat colonies can be found behind local businesses or in alleys, parks, abandoned buildings, and rural areas. Or even in well-manicured subdivisions like my own Vinsetta Park in Royal Oak.

This week’s “No Place Like Home” column describes how we found our new kitten, Izzie — and what our neighborhood is doing to find homes for other orphaned kittens. Also includes are tips and reader comments on what to do if you find a feral cat or kitten you’re unable to keep. Click here to read it and to see more photos of the adorable, incomparable Izzie. –CL

–Photo above: Izzie relaxing at home, a week after she was rescued.–

School supplies for Mom

The grace to be a beginner is always the best prayer for an artist. The beginner’s humility and openness lead to exploration. Exploration leads to accomplishment. All of it begins at the beginning, with the first small and scary step.” — Julia Cameron

Remember the late-summer thrill of buying notebooks, Magic Markers, and bright yellow Ticonderoga pencils for a new year of grade school? And who could forget the incomparable scent of a fresh box of Crayolas? For me, the ritual of buying school supplies softened the hard reality of summer’s end.

Even if your kids have flown from the nest, the beginning of the new school year still inspires personal growth and renewal.

Is there a dormant passion you’d like to rekindle? A hobby waiting for you to explore? My new column on Royal Oak Patch details the first season my son left home for college, and how I started a new “term” in the school of lifelong learning. Included with the essay are several photos of my art projects.  Please click here to read it. — Cindy La Ferle