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Happy St. Valentine's Day

"February's very gay
With St. Valentine to share,
As sweet Cupid on his day
Shoots arrows through the air."

"February" by Carice Williams

Hubby and I still have the Valentine decorations that we used to decorate our school rooms when we were teaching. My Hallmark decorations were so cute that I couldn't throw them away when I left teaching. Hubby used my decorations and bought even more to decorate his room when he taught. Hubby and I always bought Sweethearts candy for our pupils. The kids loved taking the box home to show their parents.

Speaking of Sweethearts, I love seeing the new sayings that appear on this year's candy. They are all food-inspired: "Recipe 4 Love," "Table 4 Two," "Stir My Heart," "My Treat," "Top Chef," "Sugar Pie," "Sweet Love," "Honey Bun," "Spice It Up," and "Yum Yum." Eight billion Sweethearts are produced for each Valentine's Day. Each small heart has just three calories; the large heart has six. Look for patriotic-themed sayings on the Sweethearts this summer and additional new sayings again this fall. Valentine's Day is the most romantic day of the year. Bride's Magazine estimates that 660,000 people become engaged on that day. One in four Americans dine out on Valentine's Day. By the way, the Sweethearts are just another form of the original NECCO Wafers.

Hubby and I are just overwhelmed by our amaryllis. The second stalk has now begun to flower, Hubby decided to investigate the stalk. There are six flower buds on it. We had hoped for five as the first stalk had produced. This stalk is amazing. I have never had six flowers on one stalk in all my years of growing amaryllis. We will definitely put this bulb in the ground when the weather is warm and feed it with fertilizer. We pray that it flowers once again next winter.

What a nice time Hubby and I had at the Annual Meeting of the Dorchester Board of Trade. The meeting was held at the Freeport Tavern at Phillips Old Colony House on Tues., Jan. 27. It was not a very nice day, gray skies, with snow on the ground, but that didn't dampen the spirits of those attending. Jennifer Tsolas, Director of Development and Communications for the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Authority, came in and introduced herself to me. She told me that MAHA had recently moved into a new office at 1803 Dorchester Ave.

Across the table from me sat our friend Charles Hollins, Director of Advocacy for Bay Cove Human Services. Natalie Nguyen, an aide to Councilor Sam Yoon, came around to every person and introduced herself. I asked her to tell Councilor Sam that the Pope's Hill meeting for the following evening had been cancelled because of the weather forecast. My long-time friend Loretta Philbrick, after serving as the chairperson of the election, came and sat next to me. We were joined by Loretta's good friends, Ginny Biagiotti and Maureen Connolly. I had a chance to say "Hi" to Bill Puddister, Donna Finnegan, Maria Andrade, and Dianne McBride. The Board's Executive Secretary, Lisa Courtney, was there to greet everyone. Our friend Jim Cawley came and sat with us. He kept us fascinated with unbelievable tales of his youthful escapades. He even showed us a scar on his hand that had been given to him by an angry alligator when he and one of his buddies were at the Aquarium. I just shook my head when I saw the scar. It was a great evening and, by the way, the wait staff couldn't have been nicer to us.

Last Tuesday, with the snow swirling around us, Hubby and I started out early in the morning to do some errands. We first went to Staples to buy some copy paper. Then Hubby stopped at the Members' Plus Credit Union. We pulled into the parking lot behind Rite Aid and finally found an empty space. Hubby went to Greenhills Bakery to buy some of their wonderful scones. I chose to go to Rite Aid so I wouldn't be tempted by the wonderful pastries at Greenhills.

As I started toward Rite Aid, I thought to myself that I had not seen Jody Doherty Bulman since the birth of her baby. I took a chance and went into College Hype first. Jody, thank goodness, was at work. At her brother Jack's urging, she took me on a tour of their work area. I was amazed at the embroidery machine. (Oh, could I have fun with that!) I was overwhelmed at the variety of sayings they had on their merchandise. The retail area was a shopper's dream. I could buy items there and please everyone in my family at Christmas.

After I had toured the work area, Jody brought out the photos of her baby. Addyson Marie Bulman arrived seven weeks early, on Oct. 26. The photos of her right after her birth showed how little she was. I told Jody that my younger daughter Jeanne was born eight weeks early. Jeanne was so little and frail that we wondered whether she would live or not. Jody smiled when I told her that Jeanne is now a school nurse and is doing great. There is a lovely photo of Addyson with her Mom Jody and her Dad Shawn in the album. Her face is beginning to fill out so I know that she is gaining weight nicely. Jody told me that her mother and father, Elaine and Bill Doherty, and Shawn's mother, Vera Bulman, are thrilled with Addyson's progress. My best wishes are sent to all the Bulmans and Dohertys.

Once again, I am saddened that one of my favorite TV personalities is retiring. Ch. 5 meteorologist Dick Albert is retiring at the end of February after 31 years at the station. (He came to the station in the summer of 1978, just missing the big blizzard.) I loved the old promotion where a man is practically drowned in a heavy rainstorm and says, "I should have listened to Dickie." Dick, who will be 65 at the end of this month, hopes to spend more time with his two grandkids. (His birthday is actually Feb. 29.) I will miss Dick. I wish him well in his retirement.

I also read that Randy Price, 59, has resigned from Ch. 7. His last newscast was Wed., Feb. 4. Randy's contract with WHDH-TV was to have run until 2012. Randy has announced that he is not going into retirement. (I wonder what that means.) In addition to WHDH-TV, Randy also worked for WBZ-TV when he first came to Boston in 1983. If you are up in the Kittery area, watch for Randy for that is his home town. By the way, I am sure that Randy was watching the Westminster Dog Show this week; he breeds cocker spaniels.

Hubby and I are always happy to receive our bimonthly Castle Island Association's Newsletter. It is always filled with interesting info. The most important info is that the Easter Sunrise Service will be held on Sun., Apr. 12, at 6:08 a.m. The priests of Gate of Heaven and St. Brigid's parishes will concelebrate the Mass on a temporary altar at the McKay Monument, facing Logan Airport on Castle Island. Following the Mass, coffee and refreshments will be served at the Fort. Dress warmly if you do attend.

The CIA letter also mentioned that seniors who live in Boston and need battery-operated smoke and/or carbon monoxide detectors may contact Lieut. Irene Foley of the Boston Fire Dept, who will arrange a free installation visit. (You are not eligible if you live in senior housing since the management is responsible for meeting the detector requirements.) Also available are free smoke detectors that use strobe lights to alert the deaf or hearing-impaired residents.

The CIA Newsletter states that the 109th St. Patrick's Day Parade will kick off at 1 p.m. on Sun., Mar. 15. The parade organizer is, once again, our friend John "Wacko" Hurley; the Chief Marshal will be Wayne Fontes. Another bit of info is that Daylight Saving Time will begin on Sun., Mar. 8, the week before the parade. The letter also mentions that the Red Sox will open their 2009 season on Mon., Apr. 6, against Tampa Bay. It also says that Sullivan's will open on Sat., Feb. 28. Hot dogs will be half price (75¢) on Sat. and again on Sun, Mar. 1.

I was sorry to read of the death of Dorothy Casey on Feb. 1 in Quincy. Dorothy was the sister of my friend Betty Cook, to whom I send my sympathy.

Our family wishes a very happy St. Valentine's weekend to all!