Happy Valentine’s Day

I know most of you are coupled, or otherwise romantically involved, since that seems to be the rule rather than the exception. But whether you are happily married or, like me, a die-hard single (or anywhere in between), here are some useful tips and interesting facts about what is still my favorite holiday.

valentines-day-single

I want to send Valentine’s greetings especially to my family: my parents, my siblings, my niece and nephew (niblings?), my cousins and my aunts. Also, to my friends and neighbors, my Facebook friends, my friends overseas, and everyone who reads and follows Going Forward.

snoopy-woodstock

Hug someone you love today!

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Every single Valentine’s Day

Here it is, my favorite holiday: Valentine’s Day.

I’ve had a few relationships in my time, but not one of them ever happened to span February 14, so I have never been taken out to a fancy Valentine’s dinner, brought roses or chocolates, any of that stuff. I haven’t had a sweetheart for quite some time, in fact.

But I still love this holiday, and I get impatient with people who crap all over it because they’re single and lonely or they’re coupled but feel “obligated” to observe it. Those who rail against Hallmark and the chocolate makers for manufacturing this phony holiday when lovers are expected to spend a lot of money buying all that junk just to prove their love are perhaps even more unpleasantly bitter than those who refuse even to acknowledge the day because they don’t have a lover and everyone who does can go to hell.

I may be a perennially single person, but I have family, friends and neighbors whom I love and who love me, so that’s who I focus on. As I reminded one of my bitterly single friends today, “There are so many different kinds of love in the world, so many different ways to love, and so many different people to love that if you find Valentine’s day to be a bummer just because you don’t have a sweetheart, you’re missing out, BIG-time, by overlooking all the other people in your life whom you love and who love you. Celebrate them all today!”

If I had a sweetie, I would make a big fuss today, of course, because that’s fun for me and I’d want to do it. But I’d also recognize that a little bit of love, consideration, kindness and, yes, romance every day is better than casual disregard most days and hugely ostentatious displays only on special occasions. I’ve always wanted a partner who would be nice to me every day, and maybe make a fuss over me occasionally … but I could totally live without the fuss, too, if I had my daily fix. I don’t require a lot of affection or attention, I don’t think, but I do require a steady supply.

If you have a husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, partner, lover, sweetheart or significant other, I’m happy for you. Today’s your day to show that person how special he or she is to you. Make a fuss. But don’t forget about that steady supply thing, too, which I suspect is something that most people need more than they would ever admit.

If you don’t have any of the above, but you do have a father, mother, brother, sister, child, grandchild, aunt, uncle, cousin, grandmother, grandfather, niece, nephew, dear friend or cherished neighbor, the same goes for you. Make a fuss. Show you care. The entire industrial candy and greeting card complex has been gearing up for months to bring you a million different ways to say “I love you,” “I appreciate you,” “I care about you,” “you’re special to me,” “you matter.” So go ahead, say it.

I want to share with you some Valentine’s images I made this week. The thumbnails below are linked to the full-sized files, so if you want to download and print them, feel free (just remember that I do retain the copyright, so please don’t sell them or represent them as your own). Consider them a gift from me to you, all my wonderful readers.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.

Three Hearts

Iridescent Heart

Rainbow Hearts

Three Glass Hearts

I am grateful that love exists: familial love (love between relatives), romantic love (a passion between lovers), agape love (divine love between God and friends), love of nature (the majesty of mountains, the lasting love of oceans) and the joy of laughter. We are stronger, kinder and more generous because we live in an atmosphere where love exists. I am grateful for that. ~ Maya Angelou

Red velvet cookies

Nothing says lovin’ like something from the oven, or so I’ve heard, so today I made a batch of Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip Cookies to distribute judiciously for Valentine’s Day. They use two ingredients with which I never cook, food coloring and Crisco, but I liked the result very much and can recommend this recipe.

I used the second, updated version of the recipe at the link because I wanted nice, red, plump cookies. I even added an extra quarter-cup of flour, but I should maybe have added another whole cup to really plump them up and cut down on the sweetness a tad. These cookies are really, really sweet.

cookies

My problem with following cookie recipes is that I just can’t for the life of me grasp what they mean when they say “drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet.” Seriously, a spoonful? Who wants a cookie that tiny? So I used an ice cream scoop. The recipe said it would make three dozen cookies. I got only 14 out of it, but each one is practically a meal in itself.

This was the first batch of cookies I’ve ever baked on parchment paper (the recipe also suggested a Silpat mat, which I’m not quite enough of a foodie to own), and I love the results–I could just slide the entire sheet of paper off the tray to the cooling rack while the cookies were still warm without having to worry about breaking or squashing them with a spatula, plus I didn’t have to wash the tray. Very cool trick.