Adventures of the Heart
Mary Zalmanek
Issue 25 - Beaches of Minnesota

Quote of the Month
"Laughter is an instant vacation."  - Milton Berle


The Beaches of Minnesota


Minnesota winters are long and cold.  One January day in 2005, the temperature dipped to -10°.  When Kathy got home from work, all she wanted to do was warm up with a cup of hot tea.


David came in the house, bringing the frigid air with him.  He gave her a birthday kiss with his still-cold lips. “Come out to the garage,” he urged.  “There something I want you to see.”


“It’s too cold,” Kathy protested.


“Aw, come on. You’ll like it.”  After he helped her into her coat, they trudged through the snow to the detached garage. 


David uses a heated room in the building as a workshop.  When he opened the shop door, Kathy expected to see the usual table saws, tools and workbenches. Her jaw dropped as she surveyed the beach scene laid out before her.  Blue tarps covered the walls, and 500 pounds of sand was spread across the floor.  The scene was decorated with sea shells, tiki torches, two lawn chairs and a beach umbrella. 


Rather than answer her many questions, he handed her a letter. 


Oh-so-hot 50-year-old Birthday Girl,


Are you asking yourself, what’s with the beach scene?  Since it’s so chilly, I wanted to warm you up on a sunny beach.  Have a seat and you can open your present. 


Hint: to find your gift, dig in the sand next to your chair. 


After a quick search, Kathy found a bottle with message tucked inside.  


Dearest Kathy,


For your birthday, you can choose your gift from this list:


·         A new washer and dryer (NOT!)

·         A trip to Hawaii

·         A trip to Mexico


It didn’t take Kathy long to settle on Mexico.  They sat in the lawn chairs, talking about sunny beaches until the harsh reality of the Minnesota winter chased them inside.


For two months, they eagerly planned and anticipated their trip.  It would be their first out of the country together and their first time to go away without their children. 


When they checked into the El Dorado Resort near Cancun, they were treated like royalty.  The trip was everything they’d hoped for, and more. 


How We Met


I’ve always loved how-we-met stories, and now I’ll tell you ours.  To tell the truth, it’s a story Jim wishes I'd keep to myself.


Thirty-some years ago, Jim and I lived in the same apartment building.  One day I saw him drive into the parking lot as I walked into the building.  Since I thought he was very handsome, I took my time checking the mail.  When he caught up with me, we chatted for a few minutes.  My apartment was right next to the mail box, and I could hear my phone ringing.  There were no answering machines in those days, so I went to answer the phone.  I was sorry our conversation was cut short, but at least he knew where I lived.


A few days later another fellow knocked on my door and asked if I had a cookbook he could borrow.  As he was perusing the recipes, he said, "Since I'm cooking dinner anyway, would you like to have dinner with me?"  Even though he was a nice guy, I said "No thanks." 


About a week later, Jim knocked on my door.  He asked if I had a cookbook.  Sound familiar?  He said, "Since I'm cooking dinner anyway, would you like to have dinner with me?" 


Even though Jim used the same silly line, I said yes.  For twenty years or so, I believed this was just an amazing coincidence.  Jim finally confessed he’d discussed this line with the other guy.


Food has always been an important part of our romance. We celebrate special occasions with delicious meals. I enjoy cooking.  I like to try new recipes, and sometimes try to duplicate tasty meals we’ve enjoyed in restaurants. 


Celebrating With Food


This story seems like a good one to announce the new section on my web site: Celebrating with Food.  Each month I’ll add a few recipes.  In honor of David and Kathy’s Mexico vacation, this month’s recipes have a south-of-the-border influence:


Romantic Recipes - perfect for dinner for two

·         Flambéed Shrimp with Fennel and Sun-dried Tomatoes


Crowd Pleasers

·         Black Bean Salsa


Costa Rican Cooking

·         Chalupas



·         Jim’s Famous Margaritas


Christmas Gift Ideas


Who on your Christmas list is in love and wants to stay that way?  The Art of the Spark has lots of love-friendly anecdotes and suggestions for expressing love and creating fun.  Couples who play together stay together. 


If you’re looking for an idea for a holiday gathering, consider Romance Bingo.  It’s a lively icebreaker for parties and showers.


Magazine Articles


I've been writing for Motorhome Magazine.  The January issue will have an article about Albuquerque, New Mexico.  While we were in Minnesota, I researched an article about the Mississippi River Valley from Red Wing to Winona that will appear next fall.


Until Next Time


If you enjoyed this free newsletter, please forward it to friends. I care about people and how they celebrate.  If you have any stories you'd like to share with others, please send them to me at We learn from each other.


Wishing you a lifetime of romantic adventures,

Mary Zalmanek


Next entry     Previous entry     Newsletter menu     Home