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Happy Valentine's Day

The Valentines from our children are safely put away in boxes up in the attic. Most are red hearts with paper lace pasted to the front. Another card is one with an eye drawn on the front, with the words “I LOVE YOU, MOM AND DAD.” When the kids were little, they loved to give the Valentines that had a lollypop with each card to their classmates. When I was teaching, my students and I made a big Valentine’s box to hold the cards for the children. A bit of info: Americans will buy more than one billion Valentines this year. This, however, is not the biggest time of year for sending greeting cards. That honor goes to Christmas.

I must mention how happy Hubby and I were when Chancellor Keith Motley came over to greet us while we were attending the Senatorial Debate at UMass/Boston on January 11. He kidded us about chatting with our pal Carol DeSouza, Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Special Projects at the university, after the debate was finished. We even had a chance to say a few words to the chancellor’s wife Angela because we all went down to the first floor of the Student Union Building in the elevator at the same time. It really was an exciting evening. Our friend Harry Brett kindly sent me the photos that he took of us that evening with Carol, Gail Hobin, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Community Relations at UMass, and our civic friends Paul Nutting and Mark Juaire. The photos came out terrific. They are wonderful remembrances of a thrilling evening.

Every few years, we wear out our toaster-oven. Most of the time, we put something in the oven that drips onto the heating coils, causing a small fire. We did that the other day. Hubby grabbed the oven and ran outside the house, putting the oven on the cement walkway. He put the fire out and left the oven there to cool off. Because this happens every few years, we try to keep a new toaster oven in reserve. Hubby brought the new toaster oven down from our spare room and took it out of its box. It was held in the box with Styrofoam that conformed to the design of the oven. As Hubby and I were unpacking the new oven, Hubby asked if we could recycle the Styrofoam. My friend Corina told me, a long time ago, that Styrofoam could not be put in the recycling bin at that time.

In work the following morning, I received a press release from the City’s John McCarthy, who sends out the recycling info. His phone number was on the press release so I gave him a call. I asked him if he thought that Styrofoam might be recycled in the near future. He told me that he had no date. He told me that there was no buyer for the Styrofoam so we should just put the Styrofoam in the regular trash. He suggested that I take the Styrofoam “peanuts” to a mail-packing company. I had never thought of that. We used to put them in the trash, except for the “peanuts” that I use in my large flower pots. I put them in the bottom of the pots. First of all, I don’t have to use so much potting soil and the pot is much lighter to move around when it is not completely filled with soil.

For those of you who are fans of “Days of Our Lives”: Daughter Sue sent me an e-mail telling me that Frances Reid had passed away on Feb. 3. Frances played the matriarch of the Horton Clan, “Alice Horton,” for more than 40 years on “Days.” She started as the wife of “Dr. Tom Horton,” played by actor Macdonald Carey, in 1965 and continued playing his wife until he died in 1994. I used to love watching Macdonald and Frances each year when they decorated the Horton Family Christmas tree with ornaments that were imprinted with the names of each of the members of the family in the show. She continued on the soap until 2007. In 2004, she received the Daytime Emmy’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Frances was 95 when she passed away. By the way, my friend JoAnn e-mailed me from Florida to tell me that she had met Frances Reid in a Miami hotel. JoAnn and her husband Bill were attending a Superintendents’ Convention inMiami when Bill was superintendent of the Boston Schools. JoAnn chatted with Frances for a few minutes. I used to be a big fan of “Days” but, when I was in rehab for almost a month following knee-replacement surgery, I lost track of the story and haven’t watched it since.

I happened to see, in our sister newspaper, the Boston Irish Reporter, that the Irish Immigration Center and the Cape Cod Irish Village will co-host the annual “Taste of Ireland” at the Irish Village, 512 Main St., West Yarmouth., on Sun., Feb. 21. Before the afternoon of fun, food, and Irish music, the Irish Immigration center will hold a free Immigration and Citizenship Workshop, offering legal advice to Cape Cod immigrants from all nations. Legal experts and volunteer attorneys will be present. Proceeds from the “Taste of Ireland” will benefit the Irish Immigration Center’s programs and services to the immigrant community.

Of course, Hubby and I watched the Super Bowl game on Sunday. We were rooting for the New Orleans Saints to win and were not disappointed. Hubby, from all the reports that he had read and heard, told me that the Saints were the underdogs, The last quarter of the game was terrific—very exciting. New Orleans has had nothing much to cheer about since Hurricane Katrina demolished the city. The residents of New Orleans certainly have a great deal to cheer about now. Their team was terrific. I loved seeing Drew Brees as he held his adorable little boy when the game was over. (By the way, his son’s name is Baylen Robert Brees.)

Thank goodness we put in a VHS tape to tape the game on our upstairs TV. We figured we never would sit for almost five hours without going to the kitchen for food. Daughter Sue came over with onion dip so we broke out the potato chips. We did eat healthy later on with temple oranges. Because we were out in the kitchen, we missed the commercial with Betty White and Abe Vigoda. That was supposed to be the funniest one of the Super Bowl ads. On Monday we searched through the tape and found the commercial. We did watch the Half-Time Show. We do not know any of the Who’s tunes, except for Who Are You?, which is the theme song of the “CSI” TV show. We did not think the group’s singing was great but the light show accompanying the music sure was. It was spectacular.

Last Saturday, Fr. George Carrigg invited all those attending Mass to join him downstairs for a celebration. Fr. George was celebrating the 53rd anniversary of his ordination. His brother, Fr. Bill Carrigg, was celebrating the 54th anniversary of his ordination on the same day, February 2. When we entered the hall, there was a beautiful cake on the table. There was also an assortment of small pastries and even cheese and crackers. Our friend Craig had baked his spectacular brownies. Hubby had brought his camera so he went around the hall taking photos of Fr. George and his parishioners. (Fr. Bill was only able to attend the celebration after the Masses on Sunday.) We had a special treat that afternoon. Dorothy Harris, a longtime parishioner, was able to attend the festivities. Dorothy has been ill for a long time and was in rehab for months. She is back now and doing well. We were all so happy to see her. She hadn’t lost any of her humor. It made Fr. George’s and Fr. Bill’s celebration of their ordinations even more special with Dorothy in attendance.

A date for your calendar: South Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be held on Sunday, March 14. Pray for good weather.

Hubby went out to the New England Mobile Book Fair the other day and came home with a book in a bag. He left the bag on the table. I picked it up and saw that it was Anthony Sammarco’s new book on Baker’s Chocolate. “You shouldn’t have seen that. It’s for you on Valentine’s Day.” I know that I will enjoy Valentine’s Day, reading our new book. I hope that you all have a wonderful Valentine’s Day. Isn’t it great that it falls on a Sunday this year.