Wednesday, February 11, 2015

I Am My Valentine

Some people on this planet do love me,  but none are racing out to choose a card, candy or flowers for me for Valentine’s Day. That’s why I use February 14 to assess my personal Pamper Patricia Program, which operates year ‘round.

How do I love me?

I’ve listed five ways here. Feel free to help yourself any time you need to be your own Valentine.

1. Borrow a Bathtub

For a dozen years, I had the bathtub of my dreams, a huge soaking tub in a spa-like bathroom in my condo. I always said that if I ever moved, I would carve out that tub and take it with me – but I didn’t, and my current standard-size tub annoys me.

Even my grandson, who is 3, finds it wanting. One evening after splashing around in it with too many tub toys, he asked, “Nana, do you have a bigger bathtub?” I do not. But I know someone who does. My plan is to rent it from time to time. I‘ll take my heart-print bathrobe and of course it’s Bring Your Own Bubbles.

2. Schedule a Facial

We all greet the world face first, so why not make the most of that face, which is assaulted day in and day out by grit, grime and air pollution? A professional facial offers deep cleansing, dead skin removal and intense moisturizing for dry, aging skin. Also, I pick up tips for more effective skin care to help me combat fine lines, brown spots or puffiness.

Plus, the time spent on the table is supremely relaxing. If you’re on a budget, you can still work in an occasional facial. Call a local beauty school and ask if the students need clients to practice on. For instance, the Cinta Aveda Institute in San Francisco offers facials for just $40. Such a deal!

3. Attend a Matinee

Even though the senior discount does not kick in at most movie theaters until the evening shows, nothing beats the delicious decadence of seeing a movie in the middle of the afternoon. Maybe it’s because I spent so many afternoons at the office wishing I were at the movies, or maybe it’s just a reminder of one of the privileges of being retired. (If you’re not yet retired, consider taking half a personal day sometime and sneak off to a movie theater.)

For lunch, it’s popcorn and a refreshing beverage. Maybe a box of Junior Mints for dessert. And yes, the snacks likely will cost more than the price of the movie ticket, even at the matinee rate.  I am worth it!

4. Make a Date

Where do you like to go to get away, breathe more freely, put down your day-to-day worries? Been there lately? Me either, though my list of favorite spots includes the botanical garden, a local diner with the best milkshakes ever, a cozy bookstore built for browsing and a hilltop with a beautiful view.

I also have a list of places I’ve never gone, and I seem to put off those expeditions as well. Why do I so often allow opportunities for new experiences pass me by? This Valentine’s Day, I am making a date with myself to get to a comedy club or jazz concert, places I have long wanted to go, meant to go and can’t believe I’ve never gone. I’m going!

5. Plan a Lovely Dinner

Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest nights for restaurants – why fight the crowd and compete for the attention of the crazed kitchen staff trying to serve all those couples? It’s a great night to feast on my favorite food in the comfort of my home, go beyond the usual low-key dinner for one.

Once a month, often on a minor holiday like Valentine’s Day, I give myself permission to splurge on my favorite food, either a prepared item or a special cut of meat that I cook just the way I like it. Dungeness crab is in season right now in San Francisco and an upscale grocery sells exquisite crab cakes for $4.99 each, a fraction of the cost at a restaurant. I may steam some asparagus – or I may just buy two crab cakes and a lemon and call it dinner.  

Happy Valentine’s Day to me – and you!