Sunday, February 21, 2010

Valentine's for everyone

We celebrated Valentine's Day a couple of days early. I took Friday the 12th off of work, for a couple of reasons. See, I'd planned a surprise for my folks. Our home is overrun right now, and they never do anything for themselves. It's a crazymaker for them. So, for Valentine's, I booked that weekend for them at a nice hotel in Glenwood Springs, which is far enough away to be a good getaway from everything without being a long drive. I also included a gift certificate for a nice Valentine's dinner, so that they could go out without worrying about the price.

I'd called ahead to the hotel in Glenwood Springs, to see if I could get into it early and set up a gift basket, bubbly, and some flowers for my folks. Not only did they allow me to do that, but they'd also upgraded their room to a suite! Woo hoo! My folks never take time for themselves. This was going to blow them away!

So, Friday the 12th, I met up with Ranger early in the morning. We were going to exchange gifts, then drive to Glenwood Springs together to get everything set up before my folks were to arrive.

Ranger gave me the most adorable teddy bear, a giant box of truffles, and three of the sweetest Valentine's cards I've ever seen. We had a unique problem this year -- every card we looked at seemed to say something so true about our relationship. About our history, our struggles, our deepest feelings....there was no way to pick just one. He also wrote sweet notes to me in each one, expressing even more than what the cards could say.

Then, it was my turn. I gave him some hazelnut chocolates (he loves hazelnut), two cards, and the book I mentioned before. You know, the "How I love you" one that you fill in yourself?

First, I showed him the cover. He read, "How I love you," and said it was so sweet.

I said, "But wait! There's more!" I opened the book and fanned through the pages. His jaw dropped as he saw all the writing in it. He took it from me, amazed.

"Is this what you've been saying you're 'working on' all week?" he asked, flipping through the writing.

"Yes," I said. I pointed out the last two pages, which were completely filled with writing. "This is what I was doing when you called last night."

He gathered me in his arms and buried his face in my shoulder. With my arms around him, I felt him trembling as he started to weep. "Thank you, thank you," he whispered.

He took my face in his hands, to look directly into my eyes. "No one has ever, EVER, gone to so much trouble for me," he said. "For just me. To make me feel loved." I wiped the tears from his cheeks, and we sat close as he read some of the book.

Soon, we climbed into the car together and headed down the road. It was a nice drive, about an hour and a half. Soon, snow was falling on us. We watched elk near the road, careful to slow so we didn't hit any. I wanted to call and warn my folks about heading into snow, but couldn't give away where I was. So, I had my sister pretend she'd seen it on the weather online.

Ranger and I picked up some flowers at a shop near the hotel. My mom called about then. "We're on our way now," she said. "I just wanted you to know, we're so excited! Thank you for doing this for us!"

I told her to be careful, then we headed into the hotel. The front desk people were expecting us and gave me the key to the suite. It was spectacular! Full of lovely antiques, with a separate sitting room for them. We set up the basket on the couch, filled the ice bucket to chill the non-alcoholic bubbly, set out two champagne flutes, and the vase of roses. In the flowers, we put a card that said, "Decor by Blogget and Ranger." Then, we made our escape to our favorite restaurant, about a block away.

About 30 minutes later, my phone rings. "You went all-out!" my mother was exclaiming! They'd just walked in the door of the suite and were completely overwhelmed.

"There's a gift basket! And flowers! And some bubbly! Do we get to keep those glasses?"

"Yes, you do," I said, laughing. I don't hear my mother delighted very often, especially not by something I've done lately.

"And they upgraded us to a suite!"

"Yes, I know!"

She stopped. " do you know?"

"They told me when I called about getting into the room early to set things up."

"You did all this! I thought the hotel did! How did you get it here?"

"I drove up. Ranger helped me. In fact, we're still here."

"Here? You're here? You went to so much trouble! Where are you?"

"Eating lunch down the block. Then, we'll head back."

"Be careful," she said. "It's snowing here."

I had to laugh. I was watching it snow, too. We said our goodbyes, and I let them get to their quiet weekend away. They'd been searching travel books for things to do and had planned to explore the area the next day. That night, they'd have their romantic dinner in the same restaurant where I was having lunch that day.

Later, my mother would call me to tell me how incredible it was to them to be able to open a menu and not look at the prices. They'd never done that before. They got all that they wanted, and the bill came to 5 cents over the gift card amount.

The following day was dedicated to Daughter. Son had made plans with his girlfriend, but Daughter doesn't date yet. So, she invited her friends who didn't have boyfriends to a movie and dinner at our house. The highlight of the evening was to be the chocolate fountain. The girls couldn't be more excited!

This is how my Valentine's Eve was spent with the decibel-busting sounds of teenagers in my house. Ranger and I spent the evening in the kitchen, cooking up goodies for the crowd. We were peas in a pod! We daydream of cooking together, sharing the kitchen. It was hard work that night, but close and delightful. The chocolate fountain got a little messed up, but the girls didn't mind just dipping fruit and marshmallows into a bowl of melted chocolate.

Son even got home early and joined in the fun. His gift to his girlfriend kind of touched Ranger and me, too. He wanted to give her a flowering plant. And not just any plant. It had to be the same type of orchid Ranger had given me, just after we met.

"I remember when he did that," Son said. It was nearly two years ago. He had remembered and waited to do that for someone really special to him. That we'd made an impression on him -- that Ranger had -- was very meaningful to me.

Valentine's Day, I gave the gifts I'd picked up for the other family in my house. On a hunch, I'd picked up a little something for my sister. Good thing. As I'd suspected might happen, my thoughtful (not) brother-in-law had stiffed her for Valentine's. I couldn't stand to see her empty-handed, no matter how terrible she's been to me lately.

It was a weekend of happy tears, laughter, hugs, closeness, and sheer delight. I couldn't have dreamed of better.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Valentine's gifts.... me crazy. What do you get a guy for Valentine's Day? Especially one as sensitive as Ranger, who has been so sweet to me lately. He's really busted his buns trying to repair the damage of the roommate incident. And he's trying to repair other "damage" I've had, without making me feel damaged at the same time.

He follows two foodie shows religiously. Tony Bourdain's "No Reservations" and Alton Brown's "Good Eats." I've given him every book in their respective collections. Except one - a new "Good Eats" book is out. But he doesn't have a good kitchen to cook in right now, so it makes him crazy to read about cooking and not be able to do it. So, that'll wait. No, I need something special for him.

I thought about a rockhounding book. But he has so many of those that I don't know what to get without him beside me. I thought about movies and music, but he gets those via download, so DVDs and CDs are no good. I thought about a romantic playlist...but we've done that.

We looked at some books that have tear-open pages of his and hers "instructions" for romantic and erotic nights at home. But they are really written for people who live together. We don't yet. These books mean a lot to him. My interest in them means a lot to him. See, he'd tried to give one to his now-ex-wife....and found it on the trash pile. So, if I made a gift of them to him, it would be touching to him because it would sympbolize my acceptance of his eroticly playful side. I thought they'd make a nice wedding gift, someday, when we would be living together finally.

For Valentine's, though? I'm at a loss.

Until I was at Borders with my daughter the other day.

"Hey, Mom! You should get this for Ranger!"

It's called How I Love You. The description says, "Containing hundreds of fill-in-the-blanks and leading questions, this guided journal helps readers compose the greatest love letter of all time."


So, that's what I'm working on this week, in my copious (ha!) spare time. I'm rather proud of myself this year....well, with Daughter's help!

...who, by the way, is wanting to start wearing makeup. She's old enough, but it's just one of those "where's my baby?" things. We went shopping for it and have had the "Do and Don't" talk, and a few lessons. Where is my baby??

Monday, February 08, 2010


You know, I think blogging is how I deal with Mondays. I can think about the last few days and recap them, exploring as I go, and keep Monday at arm's length for a little longer. So, here I sit. Another Monday morning in my office. In front of me is a hot cup of chai (which I've already spilled once) and a wheat-flour blueberry muffin (so yummy!), from my new favorite hot beverage stop. They make hot chocolate with real melted chocolate bars and cream. You get one free on Saturdays if you show up in your jammies. Does it get better?

I think the wheat-flour blueberry muffin on Monday makes me feel better about the hot chocolate on Saturday. Welcome to my mental gymnastics.

But I digress....

Ranger and I had another glorious Friday together. It started in the afternoon. I'm restricted to working at my desk for six hours a day for another month (due to my recovery), so I'm off early in the afternoons. With nothing else to do on Friday, we started date night very early.

Ranger handed me my warm fleece pajama shorts and a t-shirt as I arrived at his place. Then, he sat me down at his laptop.

"We have pictures to look at," he said. "Fifty-two of them, to be exact."

"Fifty-two?" I asked, surprised. "When did you take that many?"

He chuckled. "A lot when you weren't looking," he said.

We spent time on each picture. I mentally flinched when each one came up. My eye is drawn to what I'd change about me. To the things I try to hide, and that hurt me when I see I didn't really hide them.

Ranger seemed to know that was happening. He'd start commenting immediately and reach in to point at the screen. "Oh, sweetie," he'd soothe. "Look how gorgeous you are in that!"

"Look how this lace lays so perfect on your skin."

"Look at the line from here to your waist. What a curve!"

"Look at that cute ass. I like how the laces from the back fall over you."

"Look at your thighs in those stockings."

Ranger is a thigh and ass man. Actually, he never been an ass man before me. Or so he says.

Yes, I could see what he saw. And it was doing battle with what I saw. I started to cry.

"I'm sorry," I said, looking at him through tears. "I'm trying so hard to let what you see replace what I see. But it's not happening immediately."

"I know," he said. "It'll take some time and maybe showing you these things again and again. But you just have to believe how beautiful you are to me."

"Please don't be discouraged or disappointed with me," I said. The last thing I want is to frustrate him or make him feel like I'm rejecting what he's trying to do for me.

"Never," he said. He kissed at my tears, then lay with me on the bed. Softly, he told me he knew what part of me I most disliked. And he was right. I despise my tummy. And talking about it makes me cry. But he has a very unique patience and understanding with my tears and my insecurities, like no one has ever had with me before.

He caressed me and told me what he loved. He told me why he didn't see the things that I thought of as my flaws. Suddenly, he stopped.

"Don't move," he said. "This is something I've wanted you to see, but you can't. And the light is just perfect now."

He grabbed the camera, talking softly the whole time. As if the sound of his voice would chase away the image he wanted to capture. "You have this cute peach fuzz at the small of your back," he said. "And the way the light is hitting yur backside right now just brings it out. You just have to see it."

The result is below. Pardon me posting a photo of my own ass, but I think it's a little more "artful" than just that. I couldn't believe it was an image of part of my body.. And for me, it's a very bold and telling step for me to be able to post this.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Learning to see

Ranger and I had a chance for a nice little getaway last week. We made it about two hours from home, scouting suitable places for that honeymoon we dream about.

We stayed in a couple of historic hotels, in smaller-town settings. One in particular was in a remote little town (population about 100 during the winter) called Redstone, surrounded by historic sites. Heck, the town itself is a historic site! You can take horse-drawn sleigh rides in the winter and carriage rides in the summer. The Redstone Inn is reputed to be haunted. The hotel is very strict with their non-smoking policy, and we didn't have neighbors around our room. However, Ranger and I each had the experience of smelling a strong scent of pipe tobacco on separate occasions in our room. Interesting because the hotel was originally used as quarters for bachelor miners working in the town.

The hotel is pictured above, as it looks about now, covered in snow. To say the place was cozy and romantic is an understatement. It has a tranquility and warmth that makes you just want to snuggle in and watch the snow fall all day. Our room was similar to the one below and was very reasonably priced at $79 a night. Actually, it's usually $89, but I'd booked a smaller room, and they upgraded us at no additional cost. Gotta love that.

We had dinner in their little restaurant that night. It was quite possibly the most romantic dinner we've ever had together. And beyond delicious. This little place has a marvelous chef!

Back at the room, I took some time to shower and unwind. When I came out of the bathroom, I found that Ranger had unpacked the suitcase with my lingerie in it. We've picked out quite a bit, but I haven't had the chance to wear all of it. He had warned me that I'd amassed a real "collection," but now I looked around the room to find each and every surface just dripping with lovely things to wear. Some we skimpy, some very sexy, and some cozy.

"We're tired, so we don't have to do this tonight," he said. "But I'd like to see you model these for me. I'd like to take some pictures of you in them."

"You would?" I said, wondering what kind of pictures he had in mind.

"Yeah. I want to take them and look at them with you, and show you what I see when I look at you."

But for that night, he picked out something soft and cozy for me to wear. Namely, a soft pink t-shirt and little fleece shorts -- which he apparently found just as sexy as satin and lace.

The next night, we moved north to Glenwood Springs, which you've heard me mention before. We've stayed at another historic hotel there, the Hotel Colorado, but we wanted to try out another one closer to "downtown" (which is still quaint and charming, in a town this size). Specifically, it's in the same block as our all-time favorite restaurant, Juicy Lucy's Steakhouse.

So, we moved on to the Hotel Denver. It's a little more pricey than Redstone, but worth it, in my humble opinion. The hallway worried me. The doors along the hallway seemed very...institutional. I opened our room's door and immediately saw a beautiful four-poster bed in the room, covered with a beautiful quilt. The room was furnished with lovely antiques and had hardwood floors. But what took my breath away was the window. A large, brightly-lit window of stained glass roses.

"This is it," Ranger said, staring at the beautiful colors streaming through the afternoon light. "This is where I want to take those pictures of you. With the light from that window."

He picked out some favorite pieces from my "collection." Things I had never worn before. They were satin and lace bustiers with matching panties, fishnet stockings, chiffon and embroidery. And no, I wasn't completely comfortable putting them on yet. When I looked in the mirror, I still saw the bits of me that I loathe. I wished the pretty things could hide me a little better.

But that's not what Ranger saw. After putting on each outfit, I turned to the mirror to see what was there. This lingerie was indeed beautiful and soft on my skin. I found out later that Ranger took candid photos of me looking in the mirror.

Maybe he read my expression, though, or the lines of my gaze. He stepped up behind me, in my reflection.

"Do you see how beautiful you are?"

I didn't answer.

"Here. Let me show you want I see." He turned me slightly, so I saw my back in the reflection. He put his fingers on my shoulder, tracing the curve of my body along my back, to my hip. "Look at this line. Look how beautiful that is. This is what I see."

He did this again and again, showing me how this pretty thing and that fit my body, and what his eye couldn't get enough of. In all, he took close to 50 photographs that day. In the photos, he pointed out to me how the light played along my curves, my face, my long curls.

I was literally seeing through his eyes. I tried on half a dozen "outfits." Finally, when I looked at a particular one in the mirror, I started to cry. I had turned to the mirror, and for the first time ever, I Just simple beauty.

He took photos as I stared, running my hands lightly down my body, astonished by what I saw and felt. He posed me a couple of times. I smiled genuinely for the first time that day. The picture shows a seductive glint in my eye. He put down the camera.

"That's enough," he said. "No more today. This, now, is how I want you to feel when I make love to you."

And in those following hours, we learned to be just that much more thankful for each other.