List Love

Recipe Image for Blog Post Valentine's Day.png

Way back in October, the Wall Street Journal ran their annual Lists Issue in the Off Duty section of the paper. I got all giddy about the lists and wrote about it here.

In the post, I mentioned that my favorite list was called Blueprint for a Marriage - A list of “12 lovable qualities of architect Eero Saarinen’s would-be wife.”

Basically, he made a love letter that’s a list with Roman numerals. It’s filled with “feverish ardor.” I’d love me some feverish ardor this Valentine’s Day. I’m going to write one for my husband and my daughter.

And yes, I just looked up ARDOR. It means passion or enthusiasm.

Jackpot! I knew it would be the perfect inspiration for a Valentine’s Day writing recipe. So here goes!

Here are the short and sweet directions:

I Make a title. (I’m just calling mine List Love, but do whatever you want.)

II Make a list of 12 lovable qualities about your partner and/or child.

III Use Roman numerals for your list. (Do ya see what I’m doing here with this list of directions? Clever, huh?)

IV Eero Saarinen (he was a famous architect, but the way) , used some of these words to begin his lines:

  • First, I recognized that you were…

  • That you were…(He repeats this beginning for all of them except the last one. In my version, you’ll see that I took some liberties and began sentences a bit differently.)

  • And finally for the last one….That the more I….

V Here’s a huge NOTE about this writing recipe…and it’s THE thing that makes it cute and clever. Read my sample, but notice something strange about the list of Roman Numerals. See if you can figure out what it is! It took me a while! After the end of the poem, I’ll explain it.


List Love

Written by Lorrie

For Ron

I First, I recognized that you are kind.

II That your skin is like butter.

III That you are quick to get my clever jokes.

IV That there is gleam in your eye.

V That you love hiking in the Sierras.

VI That we can talk about anything.

VII That you work hard.

VIII That you never call anyone names or gossip.

IX That you have a math/science brain that’s also comfortable in the artsy/writing realm.

IIIA That you have a brilliant sense of humor.

X That you cook a mean butterflied chicken.

XI That you take care of parents, daughters, and dogs well.

XII That the more I… (Sorry, Dear Readers, I’m saving this racy one just for Ron so he has at least one surprise on the 14th.)


So, did you see the clever little thing I copied from Eero’s piece?

Look carefully at III and IIIA.

It took me a hot minute to figure it out.

For his III, he wrote:

“That you were perceptive.”

For his IIIA, he wrote:

“That you have a marvelous sense of humor.”

Full disclosure, and this is SOOOOOOOO Lorrie right here, I had to show Eero’s piece to Ron to help me figure out what IIIA was.

What a ding dong. I have a good sense of humor, but I’m clearly not very perceptive.

Right away, Ron saw the relationship between III and IIIA. I knew that Star Trek lovin’ engineer would see what I was missing.

That’s why we’re such a good match.

Of course, I didn’t say that I was in the middle of writing a sample piece all about my love for my better and smarter half. He will crack up when I give this list to him on Valentine’s Day.

May you all laugh and love and be more perceptive than me on February 14th.

Always writing,


P.S. If you’re still looking for Valentine’s Day projects that are good for the whole family and/or your classroom, I’m including videos for last year’s Valentine’s Day writing and art recipes below. Enjoy.