February’s Dark Promises

snowy-dayAs we know from yesterday’s amazing Coming Attractions post, it is now officially February. I’ll admit I have some seriously conflicted views of this short, endless month. My view has changed since I was a little girl, but not to any appreciable degree. So here are my major points about February. Please feel free to pile on:

snowy-night-wallpaper1. Endless Nights – Here in North America, even at the middling latitude North Carolina enjoys, the nights in February are loooong and daaaark. And this year, especially, cooooold. I hate that it is dark when I get home from work and, once inside, I never want to leave the house. I also might be part bear, because I generally want to go to bed around 8:30 pm and stay there until long after the alarm at 5:45 am. Somehow, magically, once it’s March I notice the days have become astonishingly longer and there is much more evening than, say, the last day in February. I have no idea how that happens, but it is a thing. For real, though!

winter sunshine2. Thin Sunshine – Okay, the sun does shine in North Carolina an egregious amount of the time. Even in February. Still, it’s a thin, watery sort of sunshine that is so puny it barely penetrates the gray haze of my February Funk. Yes, it has a name. Try it on for size, you’ll like it. “Got the February Funk. This sunshine isn’t cutting it, man!” I need some real sunshine which, again, March will provide. I don’t know why, but the divide between February and March is sharp and thick and tangible. Like the Berlin Wall. I’d love to tear that mother down! Where is U2 with a protest song about Febrile February Sunshine? Bono could totally rock that.

Valentines_Day_Chocolates_from_20053. Valentine’s Day – I know, I know. We’re romance writers, so we should adore a day that celebrates love, right? Right?!? *sigh* I am terribly conflicted about Valentine’s Day. I love to show my love to my family and gift them with funny/mushy/sweet cards and tasty confections, but neither my husband nor I are really sold on it. We love each other every day and try not to take it for granted, so spending money on this holiday (in February!) seems a bit shallow and forced. We do it, but it’s not really a big thing. Also, while I Love (with a capital L) chocolates with cream centers, my husband never remembers that. And if he does, he usually can’t find them at the one drugstore he stops into at the last minute on his way home from work. Seriously, this is a thing every year. Some men would overcome this or plan for it, but not my man. He is incredibly good at so many things, but remembering to get chocolates I love to celebrate a Hallmark holiday ain’t one of them.

Augustus Caesar4. Brevity – On a happy note, February is short. Whoever mapped out the Gregorian calendar gets extra snaps for that one. Actually it was and Italian doctor, astronomer and philosopher named Luigi Lilio (I totally looked that up on Wikipedia). Really, though, that was just a revision of the old Julian calendar, which was designed by an Alexandrian astronomer named Sosigenes. So, high five, Sosigenes! Way to maintain the brevity of February, Luigi! Of course, it’s commonly held that we owe the short month to Augustus Caesar. He was jealous that Julius Caesar’s month (July) had 31 days and his (August) only had 29. So he totally pinched two days off February! Smooth move, Augustus. Totally set it up for March to come in like lion! That seems Roman-like to me. 

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00036]Besides brevity, February has little to recommend itself, in my (stubbornly held) opinion. Long nights are great for reading books, though, so I am not complaining too loudly. I just finished Susan Sey’s Talent For Trouble and I cannot recommend it highly—or urgentlyenough. It is funny, heart-wrenching and incredibly satisfying. I’m just whining now, but I have been sick for about a month with the most annoying series of colds and viruses imaginable. When the latest one hit (Thursday), I felt very sorry for myself. (Plus, if you’re a Facebook friend, you may have seen the cat stuck in a tree trauma. Ack!) So yesterday, feverish and miserable, I treated myself to Susan’s book. Gobbled it up. It was delicious and delightful and made me crave both toast and pizza! (Which I totally ate.) I was so sad when it ended, because I wanted more, more, more! Y’all, Talent For Trouble was the best thing to happen to me in February in a looooong time. Do yourself a favor and gobble it up!

So, are you as conflicted about February as I am? Is it a bone-chillingly cold or insanely hot month for you? Tell me your least favorite—or most!—about this long, dark month of the soul. I will eat chocolate in your honor. 😀

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  • Patty L. says:

    The only good thing about February is the Super Bowl. I love romance and am madly in love with my husband but I don’t need a special card.or present to know what we have is special, so Valentines Day is overrated in my humble opinion.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Patty, you are a woman after my own heart! It’s funny, because I totally forgot this was Super Bowl Sunday until late last night. My husband doesn’t really follow football and, while I enjoy watching a game, I don’t either. I happily join in with the cheering and jeering if I’m somewhere where others are watching, but never think to do it on my own.

      Since you will have the Golden Rooster at your house for the game, be sure not to leave him with unattended bowls of popcorn. He is a rooster and awfully fond of corn. Last time he got in the popcorn, though, we had to take him to the emergency veterinary clinic and it cost a fortune! Queso, on the other hand, he really loves and has no trouble with. As long as you don’t let him overdo the tortilla chips…

      Be careful and enjoy the game!

  • Helen says:


    February is just so hot over here normally the hotest month of summer I am am ever so eager to see it end and flow into March so as I can sleep better with the cooler nights although I must say it is still a few weeks into March before I notice the mornings getting a bit crisp 🙂 and as for Valentines Day I totally agree with you Hubby and I do a little present but we don’t go overboard we can buy each other things when we want we don’t need a special day for it and I am glad that Kimba is fine

    Have Fun

    • Caren Crane says:

      Helen, you have my deepest sympathies on the scorching weather. As you know all too well, I am NOT a fan of summer! I know it’s anti-Southern or whatever, but I just despise it. They are going to officially revoke my Southern card one of these days and I’ll end up with Susan in Minnesota! 😛

      I’m so glad you and your DH indulge your love and gift-giving all year-round. We prefer to do that, too. I really would care a great deal for some dark-chocolate-covered, orange cream-filled truffles, though. Maybe this year!

      • Susan Sey says:

        See, we’ve made Minnesota *seem* like a punishment to the world at large, but once you get here you realize that you’ve just been admitted to Club Awesome. (The company makes the winters worthwhile.)

        And I’m about to get my MN Card revoked just for spilling that much. All I’m saying is that if that happens, if you get here? I’ve got a hot toddy waiting for you & a pair of snow shoes. 🙂

    • Caren Crane says:

      And thank you, Helen, for your kind wishes for Kimba. He really has turned out to be an incredibly expensive orphan to take in. With all the kids gone, though, I have loved having him around. He is the unfortunate recipient of all my overzealous motherly love! Not sure how he feels about that. 🙂

  • I always had the sense that Valentine’s Day exists ONLY to boost retail sales of candy & cards. There’s been many other “manufactured” holidays that try to emulate that success – but there’s just something mercenary about that day.

    I tend to get serious cabin fever in February. Thank heavens it’s a short month.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Donna, my husband would love it if he could seriously ignore Valentine’s Day altogether. He is enough of a big softie that he does like getting a mushy card, though, so I try to get a mushy one. Left to my own devices, they would all be funny cards. One year, I sent a card to each of my three sisters that said, “Happy Valentine’s Day to the best sister in the world.” Inside it said, “Did that say “to”? I meant “from”.” That made me HOWL with laughter when I found it. My sisters all loved it and wished they had found it first!

      As to the cabin fever, I honestly don’t know how all of you who live on the frozen, snowy tundra survive winter. Two days without sun and we are all having Seasonal Affective Disorder down here. Yesterday was our 5th day with snow on the ground and it made me a little crazy. Thank goodness it was almost 60 degrees yesterday and rainy, so it melted 99% of it by this morning. We are wimps down here!

  • Mozette says:

    February is a stinking hot month here in Australia. It’s a month of cyclones, storms, heat, the last month of Summer, sleepless nights and sunburn… and the month where the kids are all settling into going to school. My niece is in her second week of her art academy – where she was head-hunted by place around mid-year last year – and she’s only 14 and loving it! 😀

    This month is my Dad’s birthday, the first Creative Markets month, my second Romance Writer’s Collective and I’m working hard on my second month of organising my house… slowly but surely.

    Yep, I don’t have time for the Hallmark waste of time called St Valentine’s Day… that’s just another day for me. But I might go and get out to the theatres and watch a sappy movie on the Friday and pop a few painkillers as I walk out of the place to kill the headache I normally get (yeah those places give me horrible migrainse; that’s another reason why I don’t go to them).

    There’s my February. 🙂

    • Caren Crane says:

      Mozette, I hear you on the stinking heat. I was thinking last night and realized that February for you is like August for us: insanely hot, humid (well, it is in NC, anyway) and unrelenting. I am happy for you that February is only 28 days, but very sorry that stupid Augustus Caesar tacked two more days onto August. What the what??

      Sounds like you have some fun things coming up. I’m so glad your niece is loving the art academy. I know you nudged her hard in that direction! Enjoy your short month and enjoy the theater (even if it does require meds!).

  • Diana Huffer says:

    I can’t get too upset with February. After all, it is my birth month! 🙂

    As far as V-day goes, I agree with you. My hubby and I have been together for 31 years so the “Hallmark holiday” has gotten a little stale. We enjoy each moment we have together instead of celebrating it on one day. My hubby and I are both diabetics and sugar-free candy is soooo expensive! So it’s just another day for us. What we really celebrate is our anniversary! Dinner and a movie with dessert at home… 😉

    Hope you are feeling better soon… 🙂

    • Caren Crane says:

      Diana, happy birthday month to you! You know, I felt bad being so happy that February is really short, because two of my dear friends (Jo Mama and Deb Marlowe!) have Feb 29 birthdays. They get ripped off 3 years out of every 4!

      I think it makes sense for long-married couples (like me and my DH!) to invest in a lovely anniversary celebration. Ours is mid-November, so it’s a great time to take a short trip or have a nice dinner without fighting crowds. I always feel sorry for people with Valentine’s Day anniversaries. It’s really romantic, but can you imagine trying to get a dinner reservation?? Yikes!

      And I’ll give you an AMEN and a hankie wave for the high cost of sugar-free chocolates! I also don’t care for the sweeteners they have to use in them, though the Russell Stover ones are actually really tasty. It’s great that you’ve learned to make low-sugar desserts you love!

  • Debbie Oxier says:

    Eating chocolate sounds good to me. And I think March is worse than February. At least I have chocolate to look forward to. My birthday is this month as is my oldest daughter’s so we always go some place really nice for dinner. The only bad part is I turn the big 6-0 this year. Just as soon forget that.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Debbie, honey, have a truffle. Really, anyone you want. Chocolate makes everything better!

      Happy birthday month to you and your oldest daughter! It’s strange, because I have a really big family and we have NO February birthdays. Now, you can’t swing a cat without hitting one in, say, September, November or December, but February is totally empty! No idea why that is.

      Don’t worry about having that landmark birthday too much. It’s another decade to find all the awesome things you never knew would happen! I really looked forward to turning 40 and I have loved my forties! All the kids are grown (though 2 are still in college), the DH and I are young enough to still want to travel and do things and we generally have the time to do so.

      I look forward to turning 50 next year. My friend The Incomparable Claudia Dain calls 50 the “Power Decade.” She says it’s when you’re really on top of your game in all parts of life. I can’t wait! We need a cool term for our 60s. How about the “Discovery Decade”? It’s when you try things you’ve always wanted to know about but never had time to do. Here’s to your Discovery Decade! 😀

  • Shannon says:

    February is a mixed bag. I actually noticed last night that it was still light at 5pm. Spring is coming, pool season will arrive on schedule. But the days do seem short, and the sun weak. I use it to read, and of course, Valentine’s Day demands romance. I feel a little sad on Valentine’s Day; some of my younger, single friends get really depressed that they aren’t attached or married.

    The Super Bowl sneaked up on me this year. Suddenly it was the playoffs, and then there were two. Sundays are movie day with two lady friends, and they don’t want to miss a movie, especially since I have plans for next week. So my plan is to catch the second half. I do have salsa and chips which seem paltry compared to surf’n’turf.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Shannon, I so agree with you about the mixed bag. There are the upsides (like reading all night!) and lots of time for catching up on movies and TV shows on Netflix. And seriously, the new seasons of Sherlock and Call the Midwife have been worth the wait!

      Then again, there’s Valentine’s Day. :/ I, too, have seen single friends lamenting their loneliness and longing for love for years and years. It would be easier if it weren’t such a phenomenon (marketing-wise) but it seriously is. Btw, has anyone seen the movie Valentine’s Day? I love it! It’s a big, sappy Garry Marshall lovefest. If you haven’t seen it, Treat. Yo. Self!

      I have noticed that it’s light a wee bit longer, Shannon. But I swear, it’s light when we hit March someone turns the sun back on. I’m sure it’s in my mind, but it feels true!

      Honestly, I’d rather go to a movie with friends than stay home and watch the Super Bowl. Sad and probably un-American, but true. There are so many movies I haven’t seen! Hey…I could totally get Mr. Crane to go see a $2 movie this afternoon. He is always one to pile onto a time-wasting diversion! Thanks for the inspiration, Shannon! 🙂

  • Deb says:

    Caren, I feel a little conflicted about Valentine’s Day. It used to be a fun holiday, but now retailers go as nuts with it as Christmas or Black Friday. Even valentines have gone from simple to….beyond simple. My own daughter expects BIG things on Valentine’s Day. (Well, she’s getting a popcorn tube with micro popcorn packages, movie theater candy boxes, and a $10 bill.) My husband usually gives me a bouquet of flowers and they are beautiful. But, even a simple card would suffice….Well, chocolate, of course, is a given. 🙂

    Just a side note, my husband wrote a poem for me on the Valentine’s Day before we were married and I still have it. He also bought me the best and MOST romantic bouquet of roses on the VD before our daughter was born. A dozen roses, 11 red ones, and a pink one in the middle for “our little Valentine who will soon be here.” I know I’ve told this story before, but it bears repeating. 🙂

    • Caren Crane says:

      Deb, it’s hard not to train your kids to expect big gestures, I think. I almost always stuck to a card and a small box of chocolates for mine. Now, the DH and I would get each other a card and a larger box of chocolates, so the message was pretty clear. “We love you, but this day isn’t about you.” Poor things! 🙂 I still send them cards, which makes them feel happy and loved. It’s the thought that counts.

      I love that your DH wrote you a poem! I wrote my husband a poem one year (which he still has) and he (astonishingly) wrote me one a few years ago. It’s around somewhere, I’m sure. We are both pretty sentimental, but also very pragmatic. We decided that if we hadn’t married in a hurry because our older daughter was on the way, we probably would have decided to marry eventually. You know, for tax reasons or something. Not romantic, but so us! 😀

      The bouquet with your one pink rose is beyond romantic. Something you will definitely never forget! <3

  • EC Spurlock says:

    What does February mean to me? Three out of four birthdays in our house! All those special cakes and dinners out! Although we may have to skip some of that this year, as the recent ice storm knocked a couple of days off my paycheck, and I’ve got a lot of medical appointments for DH and Son #2. We don’t do much for Valentine’s Day because Son #2’s birthday is the day before, and we’re all celebrated out by then. We’ll have a little party at work, though, and I’ll also have a little party and flowers at work for my birthday at the end of the month.

    • Caren Crane says:

      EC, I’m glad you guys have so much to celebrate in Feb. As I’ve mentioned, we have NO Feb birthdays. I feel a little ripped off about that! I can always celebrate with my couple of Feb birthday friends, but not until the end of the month. Hm. Must cultivate more Aquarian and early Piscean friends!

      I’m sorry to hear your paycheck will suffer due to the ice. I know you guys got hit hard. We did, too, here in Raleigh. You know, for us. The Snowmageddon traffic in Atlanta is the same thing that happened here a few years back. Because of that, they ALWAYS call off school if we have any real chance of ice. Great for the kids, but not for the parents! 🙂

      I hope y’all have a wonderful February, full of celebrations and special memories. And I hope we’ve both seen the last of the “winter weather.” Ack!

  • Jo Robertson says:

    What a witty post, Caren! I just love your writing voice.

    However, I have to take objective to your disdain for February. I love February because (a) it has so many teacher holidays in it: President’s Day, MLK Day and (b) we have tons of family birthdays to celebrate in this month (makes me wonder what was going on in May!) and (c) teachers typically get paid on the last day of the month, so it’s like getting a paycheck 3 days early!

    Plus my birthday is in February, and even though it only comes every 4 years, it’s special to me.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Jo, I totally had to backpedal this morning and point out that two of my favorite people (you and Deb Marlowe) get gypped about your Feb. 29 birthday. Boo!

      It’s funny that you guys have all those Feb birthdays. Despite having a big family, we have NO February birthdays. Not even in-laws or cousins! That is just weird to me. No idea what we all do in May – besides celebrate our avalanche of May birthdays (including mine). I’m sure my youngest, who intends to teach school, will love February, as well. Plus, she’s a big old sappy romantic, so when she finally has a sweetie, I’m sure she will be all over Valentine’s Day!

      I was thinking of you when I checked the weather today, Jo. It’s supposed to rain here every day except Thursday. I wish I could send some rain out your way. We’ll be having SAD soon! (Wimpy Southerners need sunlight!)

  • Debbie says:

    Well, my husband and I are odd, we celebrate groundhog’s day because it is the anniversary of our first date 28 years ago, however this year he has to be out of town. We prefer it to Valentine’s Day…for one thing you can always find a restaurant, lol. It is also the month of my second daughter’s birthday, sort of , she was born on leap year. The weather may stink but I look at it as my transitional period and clean out closets.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Debbie, I love that you and the DH celebrate Groundhog’s Day! This year you get the Super Bowl, to boot! 🙂 Actually, I was thinking I should watch Groundhog’s Day today. I love Bill Murray and I think that movie is hysterical! You are so right about being able to find a restaurant – especially tonight, since everyone will be home watching the game! 🙂

      Your daughter has good company with her 2/29 birthday. Jo Robertson and author Deb Marlowe both share with her! I love my 2/29 people!

  • Deb Marlowe says:

    I see you outed me! I was going to say–we have my birthday to look forward to! Let’s do lunch, lady!

    One of a plethora of Debs today!

    • Caren Crane says:

      Yes, dear, you have been outed! We defintiely need to get together, though. I’ll see you at Lady Jane’s later this month, but I don’t want to wait that long! Especially now that I feel human for the first day in AGES! (Unless you count Thursday, which I totally DON’T since I ended it with my cat stuck in a tree in 15-degree weather and with fever/chills!)

  • Caren, so sad to hear you’ve been ill – although it sounds like you’ve had some nice company on your fainting couch with our Susan!

    Oh, I hear you about February. When I lived in England, that was the month where I reached a point where I thought I’d NEVER see the sun again (never inclined to overdramatise, me!). Here in Australia, we’re sick of the hot weather and illogically not looking forward to the end of the swimming season. Well, at least I’m not!

    • Caren Crane says:

      Anna, Susan is a great couch buddy. Ask anyone! Wait…that didn’t sound quite right. 🙂

      I don’t know how people live through endless gray days, I suppose that’s why the British have that whole keep a stiff upper lip thing. If they were total wimps (like me!) they would never make it through the winter (or the long, rainy autumn!). The sun is out here and it is 65 degrees. That’s a bit warm for my taste (for Feb) but I’ll take it over gray gloom!

      I understand completely the dichotomy of wanting the scorching heat of summer to end whilst regretting the loss of swim season. The first two weeks in Sept here are wonderful for swimming. It’s still warm enough (usually) to swim during the day and the evening has just a whiff of chill. By the third week, all bets are off.

      Enjoy the last weeks of swimming while you can! Soon you’ll be enjoying the cool glory of autumn (my favorite season!).

      • Susan Sey says:

        What? I *am* a great couch buddy! I have cold feet but a warm heart!

      • The London winter is particularly bleak too. There was snow the two winters I spent there but it gets dirty and icy and slippery really fast so it loses any enchantment it might have. And the days are endlessly grey. As an Aussie, I got to the stage where I HAD to have some sun!

        • Caren Crane says:

          Anna, my friend Beth who lives in Chicago says that every Feb/March people are running to the travel agents, begging to be sent ANYWHERE the sun is shining! 😛 And people want to live there…why???

  • Susan Sey says:

    Posh! I had to take a moment to sniffle back some sentimental tears at the idea that my little book helped you through a miserable fever virus. Big love!

    Also, lawd amighty, February *does* blow. I’m so glad you said it. I always wonder if maybe MN is getting to me around this time of year. Not that I don’t love it here, but February definitely separates the true Minnesotans from the wannabees. Sunrise at 7:45, sunset at 4:45? It’s a little much.

    But it makes March feel like a blessing, even it is the snowiest month.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Susan, you are like an angel of good health and great tidings of love! Talent For Trouble made my stooopid virus infintely more bearable. At least someone was having a lovely, happy ending, plus all that toast and pizza.

      I swear, I had to stop and eat cheese, toast, then order pizza when reading your book. Grrrl, you write food porn!

      That is a compliment, btw. Buy the freaking book, peopl;e, it’s AMAZING!!

  • After last week’s blast from the Polar Vortex here in the Deep South it is now 70 degrees and raining. February is dreary, rainy, cold and just blah here too. And I hate the short days. I never have enough time to do what I need in the yard when I get home from work.

    Valentine’s Day is another of those bakery holidays. We’ll be cranking out cupcakes for the next two weeks and then move right into cranking out king cakes for Mardi Gras. Sigh.

    Can’t wait to read Smoov’s book !!

    • Caren Crane says:

      Louisa, I hear you, girl. It was 65 and rainy here today after weeks of frigid weather. That is some messed up stuff. No wonder I (and many I know) have been sick for weeks on end!

      I’m sorry about the non-stop bakery carousel. I know it’ll be the Valentine’s Day cupcakes, Mardi Gras cakes, then onto the springtime nonsense with Easter and a million birthdays and then Mother’s Day. Ack! Though I’ll admit I wouldn’t mind being gifted with some Valentine’s Day cupcakes. I wonder if I can convince the DH I need some of those? 😀

      As far as Talent For Trouble goes, I have three words for you: Treat. Yo. Self! (If you haven’t seen that episode of Parks and Rec, definitely watch it! Tom and Donna are hilarious in that one!)

  • Caren Crane says:

    Good night, everyone! Sorry the Broncos played like sissy babies and lost to the Seahawks in a crazy dream sequence of a game, but I look forward to seeing all the ads on YouTube. So tough luck or congratulations, depending.

    And if, like me, you had no dog in that fight, good on ya! 😀