Ask Amy: Valentine's Day advice

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Dear Readers: Valentine's Day is not always about hearts and flowers. For many of us, this special day is just one more reminder that when it comes to romance, we don't always get our hearts' desire. Every year I send my friends and family cards for Valentine's Day to celebrate the intimate connections in my own life that might not be so "romantic" -- but are very fulfilling and deserve recognition nonetheless.

My mother started this tradition many years ago, and sending and receiving Valentines is a great boost, especially if (like me) you've had your share of blind dates, bad dates, missed connections and a bruised -- or broken -- heart.

I hope you enjoy this selection of "classic columns" from Valentine's Days past. Anyone who might be vicariously tickled by reading about my own romantic disasters (and learning about the women of my world who helped pick up the pieces), can check out my new memoir, "The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter, and the Town That Raised Them" (2009, Hyperion).

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