The snow is melting; there's still quite a bit left on grassy areas, but no trace of the magic that was there when I woke two days ago. It's time to look forward to spring, so when I went to Central Market and saw one of my favorite harbingers of spring, pussy willows, I bought a bunch, and for Valentine's Day, a bunch of pink tulips too. This was money well spent: I smile every time I walk into my kitchen and see them.
A lot of women (and most of the men I know) hate Valentine's Day. It's sort of an odd day. It's supposed to be a day when lovers express their love for each other. I think that everyone who celebrates it with that in mind enjoys Valentine's Day; but for many people, Valentine's Day has become a day when men give gifts to women, and women give...well, whatever the gift inspires them to give, I guess. That's more than a little twisted.
I decided when I was very young that I wasn't going to sit around waiting and hoping for things to happen; I was going to take charge of my life. To that end I was on my own in Chicago when I was 17; I learned to drive at 30; I finished college and went on to grad school in my 40's; and part of that early decision is why I found myself getting divorced at 50. When I was younger, taking these steps was sometimes frightening but usually exhilarating, but as I get older, I find that a lot of the time what it actually entails to take charge of my life leaves me feeling like Sisyphus; especially when it comes to big things like refinancing the house, or buying a new car, but also for more mundane things, like realizing when the power went out during the snowstorm two nights ago, tripping a smoke alarm upstairs, that turning the thing off in the dark was up to me, and only me. I can laugh now at the fact that I managed to get the thing off the ceiling and remove the batteries while standing on a step stool in the dark, using my cell phone for light, but it didn't seem so funny at the time.
So, being the independent, take charge sort of woman that I am, I decided a few years ago that if Valentine's Day is a day for lovers to express their love for each other, then maybe those of us who aren't in a relationship on Valentine's Day should use it as a day to express our love for ourselves; to treat ourselves to some things in which we might not otherwise indulge ourselves. The first year I did this I wanted to commemorate it, so I bought myself a beautiful pair of garnet and pearl earrings. Since then I've kept it simple.
Tonight, wearing those earrings, I'll pour myself a glass of wine and make myself a really nice dinner: grilled scallops; a salad of mixed greens with chevre, walnuts, strawberries and blueberries, tossed in a raspberry vinaigrette; and for dessert, a bunch of grapes with two cheeses, white stilton with lemon, and brie.
If you're in a relationship, use this day to celebrate your love for each other, and if you're alone, don't miss out on the opportunity to use it as a day to celebrate your love for yourself. Happy Valentine's Day!