I’m back from sunny Florida. I’m back from my Valentine visit to mom. And what a lovely visit it was. I’m back in cold New Jersey…cold, cold New Jersey and wishing I was still in warm, sunny Flo-ree-da.

This was my second Valentine’s Day without my soulmate. My second Valentine’s Day without my late husband to shower with hugs and kisses. I was sad, but I was glad to spend last Saturday with my mom in warm, sunny Flo-ree-da. She made a Valentine brisket for me with sweet potatoes on the side, not the standard Veal and Peppers that she puts on the menu when I usually visit. This time it was a well-cooked brisket. And we even had Publix sherbet for dessert. Then we watched an old black and white movie with William Holden and Jennifer Jones on TMC. It was good to have a black and white movie, especially since my mom’s old television set likes to lose it’s color every so often.

Sunday we went on our first shopping expedition to one of my mom’s favorite marts. (No, not Wal-Mart, that store is too big for my mom.) We went to Steinmart. Mom is always hunting for some new article of clothing. This time it was beige pants, not too long and not too short, with some elastic around the waist, but not around the entire waistband, deep pockets on either side, and light-weight cotton or cotton/poly fabric. (Did you get all those requirements? Should I repeat those requirements?) We hunted through all the racks until we found a few pairs of pants to try on. (Whew, what a job, about an hour’s worth of work.) We went in the one handicapped dressing room so mom could sit down. However, it was quite difficult for her to get up and down to try on pants. I found out that handicapped dressing rooms are really not well-designed for handicapped people who use walkers. These stores better shape up. Do they know that there are millions of baby boomer women waiting in the wings who will likely be needing more handicapped dressing rooms a few decades from now?

Next stop was Panera bread for lunch and then off to the movies. My mom wanted to see The Reader (Excellent movie, quite intense, but I do hope dear Kate Winslet wins the Oscar for Best Actress. She was amazing as the female lead.) Excuse me, did you ask if we got lost trying to find the movie theatre even though we left lots of extra time to get there since we knew it was further away? Yes, yes, yes, we got lost. Thank goodness the stars were aligned and we found Pine Island Road before the sun set and made our way to the Sunrise movie theatre and were in our seats almost 10 minutes before the movie started. (My mom and I are just two cool, calm, and collected chicks who know how to get around Flo-ree-da.)

Monday was another warm, sunny day. Off to the pool we went after our lox and bagel breakfast and my extra large Dunkin Donuts decaf iced coffee with skim milk (which I usually treat myself to after my morning walks in Flo-ree-da). I swam for a bit in the 87 degree heated pool, read my March fashion issue of InStyle (will tell you all about the spring 2009 fashions in a future blog post, although as a preview, I dare say there were not many exciting spring styles for my 50+ baby boomer body.)

After sunning ourselves, we were off on our second shopping expedition. This time to another one of my mom’s favorite marts. Yes, off to Kmart we went to find a pair of beige pants (I won’t give you the details on the pants, just refer back to the previous Steinmart paragraph and you’ll get the picture.) At Kmart, we also hunted for tops to match the potential beige pants. After trying on another four pairs of beige pants (none fit) and three tops, we finally made a purchase (yeah, yeah, yeah) of a blue tee-shirt (which was almost the same exact color blue tee-shirt that I bought for mom when I visited last November) and a striped button-down shirt. (I also learned that it is not easy for elderly women with arthritis to button a button-down shirt. Does Jacklyn Smith, who designs for Kmart, know that there are millions of baby boomer women waiting in the wings who will likely not be able to button button-down shirts in a few decades from now? Maybe I will write a letter to Kmart and let Jacklyn Smith know about this dilemma.)

We finished off Monday with dinner at a Chinese restaurant with several boxes of leftovers for mom’s refrigerator. I was pleased to know she would have enough food for a few more dinners during the week, before I left for my business trip to Boca Raton on Tuesday.

I called my mom when I returned home the other day.

“I miss you,” she said.

“I miss you too,” I said.

While I didn’t get any red roses this Valentine’s Day, I couldn’t have asked for a more inspirational partner to spend my Valentine weekend with. I do love my mom. How much do I love my mom? I love her SO MUCH that I can’t wait for my next visit to Flo-ree-da. Next time, maybe next time, we may even get lucky and find that elusive pair of beige pants in Flo-ree-da. If not, there will likely be another article of clothing on my mom’s list that we will have to go shopping for. Oh, Flo-ree-da, oh Flo-ree-da, oh how I do love the marts in Flo-ree-da.