You Have an (Arti)Choke-Hold on My Heart, Valentine

Yip. Me, in a nutshell...

Do you know the core theoretical underpinning of Valentine’s Day? Its very essence can be summed up in three totally dreamy, romantic, dare I say quixotic words:

Worst. Puns. Ever.

Seriously. If it’s not those little pesky and all perky and pastel-ly conversation hearts, then it’s a card. If it’s not a silly commercial on TV, it’s an ad in the newspaper.

Bee Mine. I choo-choo-choose you. We’re purrrr-fect. I love ewe. Lettuce be together forever.

Just kill me now.

So I was elated to recently see this timely ad in the newspaper:

There’s honesty for you: You turn me on, but not quite enough. Perhaps this will help. (P.S. I lube you!)

Anyhow, so at this point I’d like to share with you a seemingly unrelated story about a very young, very naïve, very sweet little girl.

Once upon a time, I was short (yes, there was a time), and not jaded, and only thought bricks were made for houses occupied by the smartest of the Three Little Pigs. I was probably 8, and I loved artichokes.

But I was very concerned about the potential extinction of artichokes, because I had just learned about the mass killing of buffalo in the plains in the 1800s.

OK, so here’s the deal: I thought artichokes were animals. No lie. They have a heart, after all. So I remember the day I vocally pondered the potential of a mass artichoke extermination — just like those poor bison — with my parents. And I remember their jaws dropping to the floor in bewildered disbelief.

Up to that point, I had images of artichokes gathered on the range, running and playing with their fellow artichoke friends (and perhaps a buffalo or two) in clusters — perhaps called gaggles, or tribes, or prides. I attribute this image in my head to  the song “Home on the Range,” which in my 8-year-old mind, clearly contained the lyrics, “…where the deer and the artichokes played…”

Check out that giant artichoke...leg! Can't you imagine it, hopping around the plains?

Anyhow, after “the talk” with my parents — you know the one, detailing how artichokes were definitely from Kingdom Plantae, not Animalia, and that they could neither utter discouraging words nor any sound, for that matter — I became known as the girl who would believe anything. Just ask my folks: They later convinced me that curb feelers on cars existed so that blind drivers would know how to keep their vehicles from mowing down poor, unsuspecting pedestrians on the sidewalks.

I shit you not.

And by the way, my parents can confirm all of the above. And I hope they do by leaving a comment below: I’m in need of some serious blogger-cred here.

But now that I’m older, slightly less naïve but far more metaphorical, I kinda dig the symbol offered by my imaginary animal artichoke and its isolated heart. Because I can relate: If we’re speaking evolution here, the animal artichoke as a species must have been routinely blindsided, jaded, perhaps a little bitter and definitely heartbroken. Over multiple generations. And it had a heart that evolved to resemble mine.

Very desirable, yet hard to reach. The perfect core essence, yet covered in layers of unusable crap, then surrounded by prickly, barbed, pokey thorns.

This point was proven recently, as I headed to the store to find a Valentine for Boyfriend Brett. First, I happened upon the place where pink and red and hearts and flowers and balloons and stuffed animals go to die.

Attack of the killer pastels.

Somehow, I successfully found “up” after encountering this dizzying, dazzling display, and I proceeded to navigate to the card section by joining the processional, the steady stream of fish-out-of-water guys carrying their bouquets, and their bottles of champagne, and their boxes of ribbed “pleasure plus” condoms in size XL (yip, actually saw that one).

But as I stood there browsing the cards, I was totally overwhelmed. I opened one card, and repressed a gag reflex. I opened another, and scoffed out loud. Then the next inspired an eye roll and an audible “Not on your life.”

There I was, looking for a card that essentially said, “Hi. You’re cute, and I’m happy we’re together. Bye-bye now.” Instead, all I could find were cards with words like “soul mates,” “forever,” “love of a lifetime,” and other concepts that seriously made me throw up a little bit in my mouth. Tasty.

And then I realized…

That was the sweet taste of success in my mouth. (Ewww. Disturbing, I know…). But I had just found my calling.

I must embark on a new venture, I thought to myself, developing an exclusive line of cards specifically made for those of us who don’t trust. A brand catering to men and women who know that people lie when they proclaim their undying love, à la my ex and all of his effusive, dizzying, dazzling displays of affection found here.

Perhaps these are part of a product line called “Hallmark…of Pain.” The slogan: “When you care enough to sass the very best.”

So, without giving it too much thought, here are some concepts for the first round of “Hallmark…of Pain” prototypes:

_________

Front: You hold the key to my heart.

Inside: Luckily, I have the number to a good locksmith, in case you fuck up. Seriously. He’s under “L” in my contacts on my phone. Take a look for yourself. I’ll wait…

_________

Front: Forever is a very, very, very long time.

Inside: “For now” seems much more realistic, dontcha think?

_________

Front: I am lucky!

Inside: I know this because I’ve slept with quite a few men. You’re not at the top of the list, but you’re not at the bottom either. Congrats – and thank you!

_________

Front: We don’t know what the future holds, but I do know one thing.

Inside: Actually, no, I really don’t. Sorry. Thought I did.

_________

Front: I love you so much…

Inside: …that I’m willing to clean the scary black mold out of the shower for you. But the soap scum stays. Can’t have you feeling too comfortable, after all.

_________

Front: You are the best…

Inside: …I can do at this point in my life.

_________

Front: We are meant to be.

Inside: (With any luck.) Fingers crossed!

_________

Front: I love you with all my heart.

Inside: Even though my heart is cold. Any tiny. And shriveled. And if it were a color, it’d be black. And it’s likely dead, because I haven’t felt much from it in a long, long time. Just so you know.

_________

Front: It’s our First Valentine’s Day!

Inside: Too bad it may be our last. Enjoy!

_________

…and now, a special Valentine for Boyfriend Brett

Front: Shears to us!

Inside: Now stay the fuck away from my hair with your scissors. K? Love ya! :)

_________

…and finally, what would a Valentine be without those annoying little convo hearts to put inside. But instead of “Sweethearts,” mine will be called “Bitter hearts.” Some samples, which would be oh-so-appropriate for certain people in my life:

Hmmm...to whom could I possibly send these? ;)

And now, dear readers: I’m hoping to hear from you. Please leave a comment below – and no pressure, but keep in mind these are probably the only Valentines I’ll get this year, as Boyfriend Brett shares the same disdain I hold for this happy holiday. Possible topics may include:

  1. Do you think less of me now that I’ve shared my artichoke/animal and/or curb feeler revelations?
  2. Do you have your own prototype “Hallmark of Pain” Valentine to add to my list? Or a customized version of a “Bitter Heart” for that special someone?
  3. Will you be hitting the KY tonight?
  4. How did you celebrate your VD? (That’s Valentine’s Day, in case you’re wondering…)

And btw, I celebrated by rocking my wicked awesome V-Day t-shirt.

Because, and I never thought I’d utter these totally dreamy, romantic, dare I say quixotic words ever again, but here goes: It completes me.

Move over, Renée Zellweger. You had me at “Love makes me puke!”

About Mikalee Byerman

How can a sometimes bitter, definitely jaded, no longer trusting blindsided ex-wife still believe in happy endings? (not that kind of happy endings...sheesh, people...) By channeling her scary internal dialogue through a controversial blog/future book, swearing like a drunken sailor and spending all her spare time focused on helping others people heal. Oh, and wine...lots of good, red wine. Join me as I embrace my next best self (and help you discover yours) with Me 2.0!
This entry was posted in I heart symbols, My (forced) reinvention, My bat-shit crazy divorce and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

124 Responses to You Have an (Arti)Choke-Hold on My Heart, Valentine

  1. KC says:

    1. Do you think less of me now that I’ve shared my artichoke/animal and/or curb feeler revelations? – Of course not! My grandparents once took me to see the nuclear (or nuculer if your G Bush) plant. I was expecting to see a plant. As in vegetation. Silly me.

    2. Do you have your own prototype “Hallmark of Pain” Valentine to add to my list? Or a customized version of a “Bitter Heart” for that special someone? – Unfortunately no, but I am ever so grateful that you articulated what I’ve felt for years.

    3. Will you be hitting the KY tonight? – I wish…

    4. How do you celebrate the big VD? (That’s Valentine’s Day, in case you’re wondering…) – It shall be a non event this year. Maybe that’s a good thing…

    • Well, KC, I do hope your non-event was uneventfully happy. I agree that a non-event trumps an event, almost every time.

      And I have to say: I laughed out loud when I read about your nucular (G Bush pronunciation) plant. That is AWESOME! Thanks for supporting me with like-minded naivete. :)

  2. Shawn Griffin says:

    I absolutely don’t think any less of Me 2.0 after her arthichoke disclosure. When I was a young lad of eight years old, I couldn’t figure out how the Army trained gorillas to perform Black Ops and armed missions.

    Why else would the evening news be talking about “gorilla warfare in Nicaragua”???

    Those some really smart f#$*ing gorillas!

    Today’s Valentine’s blog was a riot! Loved every bit of it.

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, Shawn. And I have to thank you for your comment — or rather, Boyfriend Brett does, as he ALWAYS imagined heavily armed gorillas embarking on missions in the ’70s. My guess is, many of us children from that generation are forever needing therapy due to those images.

      Gorillas in the Mist be damned. We were worried about the gorillas coming through the mist with AK-47s intending to kill us D-E-A-D! ;)

  3. Shawn Griffin says:

    1.Do you think less of me now that I’ve shared my artichoke/animal and/or curb feeler revelations?

    Already answered, NO WAY!

    2.Do you have your own prototype “Hallmark of Pain” Valentine to add to my list? Or a customized version of a “Bitter Heart” for that special someone?

    No, I’m pretty lucky. We are celebrating our 20th anniversary this year.

    3.Will you be hitting the KY tonight?

    KY is so yesterday. Astroglide X is the lubricant of choice.

    4.How do you celebrate the big VD? (That’s Valentine’s Day, in case you’re wondering…)

    We celebrated Friday with dinner and the ballet. Tonight, we’ll take the kids for pizza.

  4. The Mommy says:

    1)I love the artichoke story. My parents told me I was eating Prairie Chicken one night, turned out it was rabbit. I figured this out mid-meal when a piece of my meat looked rather like a rabbits foot, which I commented on out loud…which caused all movement, breathing, talking (possibly the earth stopped rotating for a brief moment)…then em creaming “I’M EATING THUMPER!” Another time our parent fed us frog legs, but told us they were tiny, baby chicken legs….go gullible. They used this method often to get us to try new foods.

    2)Hmmmmm…I wish

    3)not likely…have to work…boooo

    4)we don’t really do anything…the hubs & kid got me new running shoes I asked for

  5. groovyrick says:

    I’ve always wanted to start my own line of greeting cards that say what you WANT them to say. Perhaps we should pool our resources and put together a business plan. Try this verse on for size…I think it’s perfect from a male point of view:

    You are my loving valentine
    It only took a glance and I knew it
    Now I need something to help me get laid
    And I’m hoping this card and some flowers will do it

    How am I celebrating Valentine’s Day? To you and your readers, please don’t judge…but I seriously have a counselling appointment with my wife. Never expected to spend a Valentines Day that way, but it’s not the first time FEB 14th has been a head-scratcher for me. Check out today’s entry on my blog and you can see how events that transpired when I was in fifth grade may have scarred me for life.

    • Love your verse, groovyrick…say it like it is, my friend! ;)

      And no judgment here about the counseling appointment: I think it is testament to you as a husband more than anything else! She’s lucky to have someone who cares enough. And I can’t wait to read your VD story, btw.

  6. RenoDave says:

    Reminds me of a long joke about a mob hitman, the punchline to which is:

    “Artie Chokes Two for a Dollar”

    And, I love the card ideas. You should (seriously) explore this further.

    • Well RenoDave, next time I see you “in real life,” I’m going to make you tell me the long mob hitman joke. Though now that I know the punchline…

      And I may need some angel investors for the card ideas. If so, I’ll be in touch. ;)

  7. Connie T says:

    I could care less about Valentines day. K-Y is for when you get older or for gay guys that need to lube the old b hole, or for some women that do that too I guess.

  8. jess says:

    I lol’d at my desk reading this. I too would believe anything.
    Funny story about curb feelers, I had no idea what they were until one day at the body shop I work at a customer told me I had nice curb feelers. I went around and around asking the guys I work with what on earth he could have been talking about, they deduced he must have been talking about my chest. Great huh?
    But as for v-day I’ll probably give my hubby a bj and call it good!

  9. Your Brother says:

    OK I can confirm the artichoke story. The curb-feeler one is news to me, but hardly surprising. Of course, I was also the twelve year old who thought for a while that “orgasm” meant the same thing as “organism” and experimentally interchanged the two words a few times with a clearly-appalled biology teacher in middle school. She never said anything to correct me, but the look of uncomfortable dismay on her face — especially after the second instance — sent me to a dictionary and corrected my vocabulary in a hurry!

    • Here is a brand new reason I love my blog: I had NO idea, my amazing brother, that you thought “orgasm” and “organism” were interchangeable. Seems odd that you didn’t share this embarrassing revelation with me, your adorable baby sister, who would have been 10 at the time.

      Ok. Maybe not so odd. I may have been traumatized for life at the revelation of the meaning of “orgasm”!

      Thanks for the confirmation of my gullible (but sweet…and did I mention adorable?) nature. :)

  10. ournote2self says:

    HAHAHAHAHA! I LOVE your V-Day card to boyfriend Brett.

  11. Heidi says:

    1. No.
    2. “My Dear Hubby, Although I generally dislike Hallmark holidays, I wouldn’t be totally opposed to celebrating our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple, but since it is your wedding anniversary with wife number two, today will always be a reminder (especially to you) of what a bonehead you can be. I heart you anyhow, Me.”
    3. No…enough said on that subject.
    4. We don’t…see number 2.

  12. dtrasler says:

    Loved this waaay too much. Had a confession (via blog) from Bellemedland this week : her Dad would pretend he was going to throw her in the trash, so she believed she must placate the bin by writing sweet notes on the garbage she was throwing away. I think the artichoke belief doesn’t look so credulous now…Besides, the Scots continue the myth that Haggis roam wild and free on the heather-strewn hillsides of Scotland. They say they have four legs, but two are short and two are long because they walk on the hillside all the time….
    Anyway, YES! to the cards. DO IT! DO IT NOW! And my top tip for buying worthwhile cards for the one you’re currently investing the most affection in, is to buy them six months either side of V-Day. Doesn’t matter if you have anyone in mind or not, but as soon as the Christmas fever has cleared, cards become schmalz-ridden drivel delivery systems.
    And as for celebrating – well, Mrs Dim has taken the day off work…

    • belle says:

      Ha! How normal I feel now!! :-)

      Mikalee, I have decided you are my hero – you crack me up! Thanks for, once again, making me laugh so hard I end up choking like a 79 year-old woman who has been smoking 40-a-day since she was 12 years-old (which I’m not, by the way, so who knows why that happened.) ;-)

    • OK, now I’m feeling better about the whole artichoke thing — though the garbage notes are much more sweet and endearing! My story, sadly, just seems naive. And a little uneducated.

      Love your card-buying tip, especially your assertion that “Doesn’t matter if you have anyone in mind or not…” when buying the cards. Ouch! ;)

      Here’s hoping it was a wonderful “day off work” for you both!

  13. Carrie says:

    LOL….I loved this one!!! I would definitely buy your line of Hallmark cards….I never have nor will I ever like this “holiday”

    Amen, sista!!!

    • It’s a horrible holiday, right? Worst part is, even if you have no expectations, you end up with some expectations. I hate that.

      I’ll be sure to market my line of cards on my blog — something tells me my readers would be the first to buy them!

  14. This is a fantastic post. I love the card idea and your t-shirt. Wear it proudly!

    I received a lovely email this weekend from my roommate who was sitting about 10 feet away from me when he sent it. He shares my meh feelings about Valentine’s Day and, thankfully, my sense of humour. He didn’t even have to go shopping, he just wandered the internet and found something he thought appropriate for today. It’s a picture of a burning, heart-shaped candle with the following sentiment:

    May the flames of my hatred
    Consume your soul
    For all of eternity.

    Oh, and have a Pleasant Valentine’s Day.

    So, to everyone…have a pleasant day.

  15. Had you just written the one about “You are the best……I can do at this point in my life”, this would still have been an excellent post. LMAO’d at that one. Maybe make it a 3-page homemade card, with the last page saying, “That was a test; if you hadn’t laughed you’d be out on your ass, and you’d be taking your f-ing KY with you!” :)

    • Perfect. So it’s a card that doubles as a relationship litmus test: If he doesn’t have a decent sense of humor (that can handle our snarky sentiments) then he’s out on his ass! What a great idea! ;)

  16. kelliefish13 says:

    1. Not at all, in fact I think more of you because you decided to share. When I was about that age I was waiting in the car with my brother and sister while Mum popped into the shops for something, when my bother convince my sister and I that the Chilli peppers that Mum had just bought were special ones that weren’t hot at all and were really nice to eat raw. We tried them, then had burning hot mouths for what seemed like hours (in actuality about 5 mins).

    2. On front – I love you
    Inside – That’s what I’m meant to say to get into your pants right.

    4. Plans for tonight involve a night in with yummy pasta and nibbles from the cute Italian place and the bottle of red wine we have been saving. It does not involve terrible cards, balloons or terrible soft toys. Though we do have flowers daffodils and tulips mostly so I can pretend it spring.

    • Oh my God that chili pepper story sounds awful! We do terrible things to our siblings, don’t we? I was once convinced by my brother that the lemon-shaped soaps were real lemons. He made me take a bite. I was totally gullible.

      Love your card…so true. And your plans sound amazing — hope it was a card-, balloon- and soft-toy-free evening of fun!

  17. Andy Lee says:

    Front: You’re really beautiful

    Inside: on the outside. You’re a little shallow n stuff on the inside, but you’re butt is cute and I’m into the idea of your body.
    Happy Valentine’s Day!

  18. T-lady says:

    Well done, M! My god, that was f’ing funny. I laughed out loud. A lot.

    You should absolutely proceed with your new card line. It’s brilliant.

    I overheard a man in a restaurant last week refer to V-day as “Singles Awareness Day”. I thought that was funny… Nothing of the rest of what I overheard him say was remotely entertaining, so I can only presume he stole that from elsewhere, but I’m glad I overheard it nonetheless.

    • Haha! Single’s Awareness Day, huh … well then, 2/15 is “Single’s Avoidance Day.” I was in the supermarket and saw about 5 guys carrying 50% off bouquets that looked really defeated. Made me smile…

  19. Jim Krouskop says:

    Mikalee , I am as sentimental about V-day as you, which is zilch, zero, nada, bupkis, not gonna do it. Thank you for sparing me the effort of writing a blog entry about this. You captured it perfectly. If you need an investor in your new line of anti-sentimental-taking-the-cheese-out-of-Valentines-Day V-day cards, hit me up. Woot!

    PS: “I lube you”…a missed opportunity by KY. Nicely done.

    • Well I was beside myself when I saw the link in your post to mine … what an honor! Thank you kindly…

      And I’m sure I’ll be in touch about that investment. I think the idea is a money-maker, and I have the perfect venue for selling ‘em: this blog! :)

  20. Pingback: You Have an (Arti)Choke-Hold on My Heart, Valentine (via Me 2.0) « Whiskey Tango Foxtrot…

  21. Blockader says:

    Some things are just so hard to reveal to your readers but I hope it gives you that freeing feeling. You know the feeling I am talking about, it’s like you have a whole open range on which to roam, where all the deer and artichokes *snicker* play. :) I enjoyed the story from your period of shortness.

  22. Marilyn Monroe was the Artichoke Queen, I live in SF /East Bay, CA, and one of my favorite places to visit in state park on coast. You have to hike about a 1/2 mile through artichoke field to find beach entrance. Would love to have you reply on my blog, your Furry Freak friend.

  23. Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! Love the artichoke story. My daughter, around that age, walked into the Post Office with me to mail a letter. I dropped the letter in the outgoing slot on the wall and she said, as though a brightly lighted bulb was over her head, “So that’s how the Post Office works!” I’ve used it against her ever since.

  24. Sean says:

    Thanks for the laugh! In my opinion, V-Day is a conspiracy trumped up by Amy Hallmark and Russel Stover to make a mint, which doesn’t even taste that great. I enjoyed your post and look forward to seeing your Hallmarks of Pain prototypes on shelves next year. ;-)

    • You’re mighty welcome! Totally agreed about Hallmark and Stover teaming up…of course, I may be one of those conspirators some day, given my own scheme-y little ideas about the overlap between consumerism and commercialism. Must now go perfect the tented fingers and the evil laugh…

  25. Does the S.T.F.U. on the candy heart really mean “Sucks to F*** You”, like I imagine it does? That may be the unkindest one of all, if it really means that the candy-heart-giver is regularly f***ing the candy-heart-receiver, but that it is really awful (the f***ing I mean). And, of course, I love it. Keep up the good work. You f***ing inspire me.

    • Oooh…ouch! Nope, STFU means shut the eff up (though I’m kinda diggin your version for certain people in my own storied past…). It’s one of those silly common acronyms like ROFLMAO or BRT or IMHO. Of course, I’m the crazy woman who always has to turn to Google to figure out what they really mean…

      • MGID (my God I’m dull)–had it in my head that STFU was a variant of STBU (or is it STBY)–“sucks to be you”, and my mind wouldn’t have it any other way. If only I had STFU. It was one of those days when I TMSP, I guess (Took My Stupid Pill, that is). No need to waste your time replying again; you already did. SAT–sorry about that. HASFD–have a swell f-ing day.

        • I will reply only to say…thank you!

          I now don’t have to go to Google to translate the many awesome acronyms you included. Hehe…

          HASFD2!

          • I thought it meant “Sucked to f*** you” for that someone in your past or about-to-be past that needed to be given one last message. Personally, I thought we were being creative.

            And I haven’t checked the newer comments but…Mikalee, do you have plans for bricks? I saw the “Brick U” heart and started thinking about foam bricks with sayings on them. People could send them to someone or keep them and throw them at whatever they want without the brick breaking anything. Unless, the ex bought them something cheap, tacky and easily breakable that deserves to be broken.

            And when the money is flowing into your little empire, (remember, don’t stick with just cards…expand) then there could be that one, huge foam brick that could say something about thanking for the opportunity for mommy to show two beautiful children how to be brave, successful, courageous (choose your own words, you know best). And off in the mail it goes to that certain someone.

            Because I would be a B*tch that way.

            Make that a successful B*tch!

            • Well, I do prefer this version of STFU. Especially in the context of my snarky hearts!

              And wait … just wait. I have special plans for bricks. Future post, my dear…turns out, I’m a bitch, too! ;)

  26. melissakoski says:

    Seriously laughed out loud reading your cards. I would actually have bought my hubby a card and bought more than one if your cards were available!

    • Excellent…I think I’ve hit on something here! And my reading audience is the perfect niche market … many of us are in the same boat (once heartbroken, now redefining…or have in the not-so-distant past). If only I’d had this idea BEFORE the day I had 4,086 hits…perhaps then I’d be a rich woman!

  27. Lee says:

    Those are fabulous. I like to say I am married to my current husband, because who knows if I will keep him around. So, mine would say

    On the Front: I am so glad I married you
    Inside: At least today. Now tomorrow I will probably file for divorce.

    The end.

    • That is friggin’ perfect. I may have to give you royalties and market that one as part of the line. It totally fits… ;)

      • Lee says:

        Consider it a freebie! Just pimp out me and my new divorce dating club ;)

        • You better believe it. We’ll throw an insert in my cards directing those who purchase to your site. How does that sound? ;)

          And you know, your site would be a great place to hawk my merchandise. What better place to sell “Hallmark…of Pain” cards than to a site dedicated to people who are attempting to heal post-divorce? I think they’d get a total kick out of ‘em…

          There may be some mutual backscratching in our futures, Lee. Creepy image, given the “pimp” concept above… ;)

  28. Senseyouregone says:

    No other word for this post, bue “EPIC”. I would SO buy so many of those cards… Exhausted tonight, so can’t think of too many clever ones. How about…
    Front: OUR LOVE WILL LAST!
    Inside: AT LEAST AS LONG AS AN ALL DAY SUCKER. I “heart” you. Y’know, w/one of those <3 kind of hearts.
    I just like it cause it has the word sucker in it. I'm still in the jaded stage of my pending divorce… :-p

    • “Sucker” is a brilliant word. Must use sucker in a future post…must use sucker in a future post! ;)

      And you know what: I’m still in the jaded stage of my divorce, and it’s 3 years later. It’s a long stage — get ready for the ride. But we’re here for you, if you need us…

      Thanks for sharing your brilliant, bitter message. AWESOME!

  29. Mom and Papa says:

    Oh for the days when life was so simple…

    We do solemnly swear that the artichoke and curb feeler memories are true and correct. For the longest time you wouldn’t go near the artichoke heart. Then you told us why; that was an easy fix. It just occurred to us that most of the people reading this post have no idea what curb feelers were — they were metal straw-like extensions on the sides of cars to let the blind drivers know where the curbs were. Oh well. ;)

    Love you sweetheart. Keep on keeping on.

    • Thank you thank you thank you … for validation on so many levels.

      1. My readers now know I have a family and was not abandoned at birth or raised by aliens. I’m guessing many of them wonder. 2. You’ve now illustrated the power of your persuasion, since you’re still telling the curb feeler story 30+ years later. 3. You’ve given me “blogger-cred,” which is like “street cred.” Only blogger-ier.

      Love you guys. Even if you’re mean, heartless souls who prey on innocent, naive, gullible little girls. ;)

  30. Hey, good post as usual. “Hallmark of Pain” ideas excellent – get to it.

    Front: I love everything about you…
    Inside;…except THE SMELL.

  31. I celebrated my VD with good sex and a meal out. Plus, in the last few months my husband is acting like the supportive spouse I always wanted him to for the last 15 years. I am beginning to wonder if he is cheating on me. Nah, that would take effort.

  32. The Compulsive Writer says:

    Just wanted to say hi. I noticed your on almost every blog “I like”. So… hi! I like your blog. I like the card idea… funny.

    • Well hello right back at ya … and welcome to my blog.

      Nice to know a simple act of blogging kindness — a little “like” action — can break down the barriers. Hope you enjoy, and I look forward to visiting your site as well!

  33. Harold says:

    You do have a way with words!

    Our morning started out not very good which had me doubting the rest of the day. By early afternoon (I had been lounging on the bed all morning, in the dumps), lets just say things perked up and happy endings were had! Gave the kids left overs for dinner while we went out to Outback Steakhouse! Every item we had was so flavorful, bread, 2 apps, Filet mignon, veggies and the garlic mashed potatoes. The strawberry lemonade was great too (my usual).
    When life gives you lemons, make lemonade and add strawberries!

    • Oh, Harold — I’m sorry it started out dumpy, but I’m happy it ended happy! :)

      And my motto is, “If life gives you lemons, add them to the fountain Diet Coke from McDonald’s that costs $1.08 including tax.” It’s the same as your motto, but different…

  34. MissKay says:

    1. Do you think less of me now that I’ve shared my artichoke/animal and/or curb feeler revelations?
    No way! The world would be entirely too dry if we all were as smart as Stephen Hawking (or whatever the smarty-pants name is). I swear in high school at the ripe old age of 17, I swore “oral” sex was just when you were talking about it. Imagine my surprise when I learned what it actually was. Or how about when I thought the “reverse cowgirl” was when you rode an agry bull backwards.

    2. Do you have your own prototype “Hallmark of Pain” Valentine to add to my list? Or a customized version of a “Bitter Heart” for that special someone?

    *For the new relationship*
    Front: Right now things are going great between us…

    Inside: But, I’m skeptical about the future thanks to the jackass that destroyed my faith in people.

    *For The Idiot that Ruined the Last*
    Front: Its Okay You Broke My Heart!

    Inside: I bid you farewell, with these great wishes: Of all the things I loved about you I now hate. And if I just so happen to not get rid of this pure hatred for you…I will request your eternal company in Hell. And even if I find it in my now battered heart to forgive you and make it into my after-life, may I be the guard at the gate that denies you entry. Either way, you’re going straight to Hell!

    3. Will you be hitting the KY tonight? Heck no I won’t.

    4. How do you celebrate the big VD? (That’s Valentine’s Day, in case you’re wondering…) It ended in a huge blown outta proportion argument. Love: -10pts

    • Oh, MissKay … so much to respond to here…so much good stuff!

      First, laughed out loud at the “oral” sex description. I can only imagine…

      Next, your Hallmark…of Pain verses are brilliant, and I may have to hire you as a freelance contributor. You clearly get it, loud and clear.

      And finally: I truly hope the huge outta proportion argument was resolved quickly. That just sucks. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always thought the day itself seems to sometimes inspire its own little perfect storm effect. Whether you have huge expectations or none at all, it’s a tumultuous ride. I think next year, I’ll take the day off and sleep through it…

  35. 1. I was one of those dads who raised my own daughter by convincing
    her to believe things that weren’t true, so if I’d raised you, you’d STILL
    believe that artichokes were animals . . . thank your mom and dad
    accordingly.

    2. FRONT: How do I love thee? Let me count the ways . . .
    INSIDE: Zero.

    FRONT: My love is like a red, red rose . . .
    INSIDE: You, on the other hand, are like a red, red wine stain
    on the new carpet I just bought.

    FRONT: Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could
    not travel both . . .
    INSIDE: . . . . I took the path less traveled by you.

    FRONT: The first time ever I saw your face . . .
    INSIDE: . . . you had vomit on your chin.

    3. Not necessary, namsain?

    4. Went with Herself to a nice hotel nearby, had a great dinner, crashed a
    party and danced with the people who actually paid to be there, hit the
    bar, hit the hay, then, uh . . . see number 3 above . . .

    • OK, I’m so hiring you as a contributor to my line of cards. The first one: sheer brilliance. Actually, I daresay all of them were sheer brilliance!

      Congrats on the — ahem – successful night! ;)

  36. PL Holden says:

    VD sometimes seems like a psychological VD for me, although I like to think I’m not totally repulsive, my personality probably seems like a cheese pizza with everything on it to my better half.
    We aren’t constantly arguing in front of the kids, though, so I guess, although I’m not living up to what Hallmark and KY had in mind as the “ideal Valentine”, I can say there’s still love in my life.

  37. markp427 says:

    Simply a brilliant post. Haven’t laughed so much in..well, okay, there were a few humorous moments on Glee tonight. But other than that, it’s been awhile!

    Nice to see your parents and brother validate your artichoke and curb feeler stories.

    Front: You are my one true love. My forever and always. My soulmate.
    Inside: Right…and gaggles of endangered artichokes zip across the plains. Psyche!

  38. laavventura says:

    I love artichokes, we have fields of them there. I hate V-Day! yuck … vomit …! We stayed in bed, gift free.

  39. Quidmont says:

    Mikalee, I absloutely love your post! I’ll even venture a Valentine Card idea that we actually used as kids. Admittedly it was a lot more cruel back then. But we did write up one to slip to a friend that said …

    Front: Reluctantly

    Inside: I acknowledge your existance

    I still snicker when I think of it.

    You have a wonderful sense of humor and I’m definitely coming back.

    I admit that I found you from your WordPress publicity but I don’t normally check out too many random blogs. That is, until a blogging buddy suggested a Random Blog Challenge for Random Acts of Kindness week. If you’re interested you can check it out at …

    http://whatsbuggingmetoday.wordpress.com/2011/02/13/or-not-randomblog2011-challenge/

    I’m guessing that from your WP publicity and the number of comments I see, you don’t have to worry about blogging buddies. But just wanted you to know the challenge is there if you want even more. :)

    Great to meet you. I’ll definitely be back.

    – Bob (Quidmont) Johnston

    • I’m absolutely honored to make your blogging acquaintance, and I was humbled by your post today. Thank you so much!

      Love your card message, btw. Brutal, yet brutally funny at the same time…the perfect combo.

      I look forward to seeing you around here again — and checking out your blog, too!

      • Quidmont says:

        Thanks Mikalee. I’m not sure how you’re keeping up with your popularity but I’ll understand if you’re not stopping by to chat every day. I still love what I see here and if you want to stop by my place I’d love to see you.

        As my friend’s RandomBlog Challenge winds up, pretty much all of us who participated are feeling blogging burnout. So with your extra publicity and a great blog like this, you must be overwhelmed on top of overwhelmed! :)

        Good to see you any time.

        – Bob

        • I can’t even imagine taking on the challenges that I’ve seen recently — blog a day, blog a week, RandomBlog…I have so much respect for you all and your commitment to the cause. I just wish I had enough time to do it all…

          Thanks again for stopping by — I appreciate that you take time, despite your well-earned blog burnout!

          Now relax for a while, k? But stop by often! ;)

  40. Pingback: RandomBlog2011 – Day 4 … There Once Was A Man … « Quidmont

  41. literaryescape says:

    I absolutely love this post. Great ides – so true. You have a lot of talent writing – your humor is great! I’m so glad I found your blog, can’t wait to read more!

    – Michelle

    • I’m so glad you found me, too…I think I have Quidmont to thank for that, yes?

      Welcome to my humble little blog — hope to see you around here again, and I’ll be checking out your site too!

  42. Haa haa! Too funny! Thanks for making me laugh. Especially with the Hallmark cards.

  43. wordangell says:

    Absolutely wonderful! seriously, you say what we all think.. great writing! M

  44. elenamusic says:

    I liked this sort of Un-Valentine’s Day post. Well, if your partner WAS enough, you wouldn’t need to buy the KY in the first place, right? It’s just another way to sell you something you don’t necessarily need.

    I also like the card descriptions as well.

    I think “I Choo-Choo Choose You” is the most memorable Valentine’s Day card from the Simpsons. I’ll always remember that.

    • That’s too funny…don’t remember that one from the Simpsons, but somehow it’s definitely permeated our culture. It is the iconic bad VD pun, isn’t it?

      Thanks so much for the comment! :)

  45. Dana says:

    LOL @ your conversation hearts-hilarious!!!

    • I’m so glad you appreciated them…now I must research a good recipe, and the purchase of a stamper. Or I need to hire tiny little people with tiny little pens to write on blank ones that I buy from the previous year’s VDay…

  46. John says:

    Do you think less of me now that I’ve shared my artichoke/animal and/or curb feeler revelations? Not by a longshot. I once asked my dad, while in Florida for baseball’s Spring Training at the age of 10, how they judged wet t-shirt contests. “Do they take them off and squeeze them into a measuring cup or something?”

    Do you have your own prototype “Hallmark of Pain” Valentine to add to my list? Or a customized version of a “Bitter Heart” for that special someone? I got nothin’. Yours were pretty damned great, though.

    Will you be hitting the KY tonight? Only if by “KY”, you mean “Kentucky bourbon”, which I did a little while ago.

    How did you celebrate your VD? (That’s Valentine’s Day, in case you’re wondering…) By finding out that the woman I thought I was going to marry isn’t going to marry me. Huzzah! But that’ll probably be the only time I admit it beyond close friends, safe behind (mild) internet anonymity.

    • John…I laughed, I cried, I am perplexed about how to respond to your comment!

      First: Oh. My. GOD! That’s the cutest wet t-shirt contest story ever. So endearing. And innocent. Which is to say, the exact opposite of any wet t-shirt contest story I’ve ever heard.

      But…I’m heartbroken for you! I’m so sorry for your nightmarish VD. That truly sucks, and if you need to vent more, your (mild) internet anonymity is intact and you’re more than welcome to voice your thoughts LOUD and clear here! And, down the road, perhaps you’ll think of the perfectly fitting Hallmark…of Pain verse to summarize your feelings. Until then, keep your head up, and keep at the Kentucky bourbon, my friend! :)

      • John says:

        It’s not nearly as wacky or dramatic as it sounds. I don’t really consider the episode surprising. It’s definitely disappointing, but I really bear no ill will whatsoever. It just sort of hit a wall that we weren’t going to get past. There’s a great scene in my favorite movie ever- Louis Malle’s “The Fire Within”- where the protag’s ex… lover? Whatever… says “It’s a matter of timing between a man and a woman”. And that’s apt here. After another day or so of licking my wounds, all will be well again.

  47. Celeste says:

    FRONT: You had me at hello.

    BACK: No, really. I couldn’t handle being single anymore and would have dated a door knob if it said hi first.

  48. Jack says:

    I’ll never look at artichokes the same way again, that I can guarantee. We moved to Las Vegas when I was 5 years old and I remember seeing the ‘No minors allowed’ signs in the casinos. I always wondered why they wouldn’t let those poor guys from the mines in to have some fun.

    I took some of the pressure off of Valentine’s day years ago by proposing the day before V-Day. Thankfully, my wife said yes and neither of us really care about Valentine’s all that much, so it works out. Our kids make us the best Valentine’s cards we’ll ever get.

    As for my Hallmark of Pain…
    Front: So, when the zombies come, will you stick around? I just need to know now…

    Inside: are you gonna nut up or shut up? [insert pic of Woody Harrelson here]

    KY? Nah, Astroglide.

    We ended up renewing our wedding vows on Feb. 13th which is during National Marriage Week. We didn’t plan it but we were in church, they announced it, everyone stood up, held hands, and then said some fairly standard vows. It was weird but very nice at the same time. Our kids got to see us commit like that again, which was kind of cool. Wish we’d gone up to Loveland Ski area though, they did a mass marriage vow renewal ceremony and then you got a free day of skiing!

    Can’t wait to read more.

    • “No minors allowed” — that’s AWESOME! Those poor miners never can score a break, can they? ;)

      What a great idea for the anniversary … and you’ll never forget the date, either. Brilliant! Congrats on the vow renewal, though the free skiing does sound like a better reward. Just sayin…

      Great card. Boyfriend Brett loves zombie movies … must share!

  49. wohh.. cool blog! i liked it.. thumbs up!

  50. “…where the deer and the artichokes played…”

    Love it!

    P.S. Ever come across a site called http://www.kissthisguy.com ?
    Archive of mis-heard lyrics

    • LOVE IT!

      I’m always a big fan of the day Merriam-Webster announces new words being added to the dictionary — a few years ago, one of the “new” words was “mondegreen.” Its origin and meaning is here. Cool stuff…

  51. Catherine says:

    This is so funny. When I was at the store looking for a card for Chef, everything was like “you are my soul mate” and “you are the one I want to spend my life with” and “I love you more than anything in the world.” All I really wanted was a card that said, “Hey. I love ya. You make me happy. We’re in a complicated spot, and who knows where this is going, but let’s enjoy it while we got it. PS: Don’t break my heart.” They really don’t make cards for that :)

    • Well I’m totally going to make cards for that. Because that’s exactly the sentiment I was hoping to find, amongst the flowers and hearts and emotional crap that I was reading. Ick.

      And Catherine, you’ve highlighted something I’ve always felt: Why is it that saying, “I love ya” is so much more appropriate for some of us than “I love you.” Amazing, the weight carried by a few silly vowels…

      I’ll let you know when my cards are available. You can browse my selection and hopefully find the perfect greeting for Chef! :)

  52. Jonathan says:

    Haven’t laughed this much in ages – brilliant :)

  53. I love goofy puns and silly knock-knocks. “Sam and Janet evening…”

  54. Cat says:

    No, No, No, YES (to the KY one), and “Slept Thru It” (because of the former answer of YES)…. :)

  55. Janet says:

    I’m long after the holiday, but I sure hope someone told you about these candy hearts! http://www.despair.com/bittersweets.html.

  56. Pingback: Top 5 Bizarre Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for the Cynical, Bitter and Jaded (Plus a Perky Giveaway!) « Me 2.0

  57. Pingback: Kids Say — and, It Turns Out, BELIEVE — the Damnedest Things (and yes, that’s how you spell ‘damnedest.’ Trust me. I looked it up. I see that questioning look. Stop it.) « Me 2.0

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