Saturday, May 6, 2017

Rhys on Treats

RHYS: A week ago a publisher sent me a beautiful display of tulips. A week later they had opened and were beginning to look a bit sad. I was just about to lift them from the coffee table when husband John walked past. "What lovely flowers," he said. "Where did you get them?"
I pointed out that they had been on the coffee table for the past week and he hadn't noticed. Men! I'm now regretting that I never had wild affairs. They would have been so easy to get away with. I can just see John walking through the bedroom to get his socks and not noticing an extra head on the pillow!
But joking aside, as I threw those tulips into the green waste can I felt quite sad. They had looked so good on the coffee table. Then the thought struck me, I could actually buy fresh flowers every week if I wanted to. A nice little treat and they would certainly add something to the living room.


This thought was followed by horror. Me? Treat myself to something that wasn't entirely practical? I'm not very good at treating myself. I suppose it comes from living through a very lean time when the kids were at home and John was laid off from his airline job. And also from being raised in that post-war period when we had to make do with very little. John still collects glass jars to store things in because his mother did.  Treats were limited to the occasional bar of chocolate as candies were still rationed until 1953. We hardly ever ate out and there was no such thing as impulse buying. A pair of shoes was bought when the old ones wore out, not before.

But I'm afraid it must be just me. I have friends of my generation who get their nails done every week without giving it a second thought. My mother went to have her hair set every Saturday morning. But if I have the occasional pedicure I feel horribly guilty.

I am getting a bit better. I do allow myself to stop at Starbucks if I feel like a latte while I'm out. I certainly don't think twice about lunch with friends. But there is warning sensible voice in my head that won't go away. Which is annoying because treats are the spice of life.
I'm trying to come up with a list of things that are treats for me and bring me joy.
Dark chocolate, of course.
Ordering oysters as s starter.
When I'm on a book tour getting into my pjs and having room service. Or having a room service breakfast delivered to my door.
Having time to sit beside a pool and read.
Lunch with friends.
A picnic beside a lake with French bread and good cheese and a crisp white wine.
Having the whole family together for a meal.
Finding I have a free evening and realizing there is something really good on TV. (And I have a bar of dark chocolate on the bedside table)

So what about you? Are you good at treating yourself? What are your go-to treats?

55 comments:

  1. I’m not always good at treating myself since I have so much fun treating John, the girls, or the grandbabies.
    But reading a good book, indulging in some dark chocolate, making a pot of coffee with freshly-ground coffee beans . . . those are treasured treats I find almost impossible to pass up.

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  2. I have gotten much better at treating myself these past few years, since nobody else seems inclined to do it. This past weekend, after four very intense weeks at work, I took some days off and spent two nights at an inn a few hours away. When I made the reservation I added in the "Romance Package." The innkeeper was willing but puzzled. "You're traveling alone? But you want the Romance Package?" she asked me. And I said, "Listen, after the stuff I'll have done by the time I get down there, I'll deserve roses and chocolates, even if I have to get them for myself!" The chocolates were lovely, and the roses came home to grace my dresser, where they still look lovely.

    Other treats I give myself include books and movies and new plants for the garden. That trip down south to the inn took me to the mecca of flowers around here--the Antique Rose Emporium. I brought back the most delicious new rose bush for the garden I'm creating out front. Now that's a real treat!

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    1. Gigi, I love the idea of ordering the romance package for yourself--maybe the inn will start offering the package for one!

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    2. When Suzy, the innkeeper, heard my explanation, she said, "Oh, you sound like a FUN traveler!"

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    3. It would be great to see some packages for one. I've never really thought about it before, but Why don't singles deserve the same extras as couples do? Good for you for ordering it for yourself, Gigi!

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    4. I got a climbing rose from there years ago Gigi. Unfortunately it finally gave up the ghost last year. Must not have been a good spot for a rose. But the emporium certainly inspires one, doesn't it?

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    5. Gigi - I love this! You, dear one, win the prize for knowing how to treat yourself! Good for you.

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    6. Gigi- That's genius! I have become addicted to ordering room service when I travel alone. Usually, cake at night in my pajamas.

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  3. I Understand so well what you mean, Rhys. I am astonished by the money people spend on coffee every day when they could just make it at home.

    That said, I often buy pretty flowers for home, and certain other treats I want I don't even glance at the price of - goat cheese or fresh shrimp. I spend a lot of money on local.produce in the summer, also without checking prices. You can't beat farm eggs, and so what if they cost five dollars a dozen? Life is short.

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    1. Me too on the farmer's market, Edith. Ours opens next week and I can't wait!

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    2. Edith, I like your idea of a treat. I do love good coffee, but I've figured out how to have one perfect cup a day, at home.

      Years ago I had a Lebanese friend who broke off an engagement when she realized that her fiance was always economizing on food. Her parents had a wonderful restaurant, and she said, "A man who is stingy about food will be stingy about everything." She never did marry, as far as I know, but that taught me to value quality in food.

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    3. Edith, I don't count food as treats. John will bring home crab legs or rack of lamb. But I was at the farmers market this week and goodness, the prices! $12 for a dozen eggs? $35 for a piece of freshly caught fish? Who pays that much? And yet people must.

      Rhys

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  4. I don't treat myself much on small things like manicures (ever), fresh flowers or coffee and meals outside. But like others, drinking freshly ground coffee at home is the way for me. And I definitely do treat myself to plenty of books, and enjoy buying and eating local produce. The farmers market are finally opening here next week in Ottawa. But the biggest indulgence for me is travel. This used to be mostly limited/linked with attending mystery conventions but I am definitely planning more globetrotting trips just for fun now that I am retired.

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    1. good for you Grace! a big treat for me is flying business class on a long overnight flight. I always tell John that if we don't, we are throwing away a day or two of a great vacation because we'll be too tired to enjoy it...

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    2. Enjoy your globetrotting, Grace! My kind of indulgence
      Rhys

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  5. and ps, yesterday as I stopped at the fish market for crab cakes, I also nipped in to the bakery next door and bought leek-pepper biscuits and a couple of small ginger cookies. Because we're worth it:)

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    1. Yum, you have me salivating at crab cakes and baked goods, Lucy!

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  6. My favorite treat is ebooks! (Yes, I admit I'm addicted but there are worse addictions.) I do like ice cream and cheesecake but I try to limit those treats for the sake of my weight.

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  7. A lime rickey with a basket of fresh deep fried onion strings at Mr. Bartley's.

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  8. I'm getting better at treating myself. The big one: calling for a car to drive me to a book event instead of driving myself. And I've upgraded my ice cream. If you're in the Boston area, try Lizzy's. The flavors are spectacular (ginger ice cream that tastes like real ginger, rich rich chocolate...) and they come in cardboard(!) instead of plastic so you can recycle the container.

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  9. After rearranging the living room to accommodate another piano in the house, youngest nephew suggested I put the leather recliner in my bedroom (that's his go-to spot for anything he's discarding from HIS room). But I thought, why not--and now I have a very comfortable and quiet reading space--usually with one cat on the back of my chair, one on the dresser and one under the bed. With my feet up, a good book (thanks Reds and friends!), and a good bar of chocolate, those stolen moments feel like a treat!

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  10. I was just looking at the glorious irises in my garden, and wondering why I hadn't cut any yet. Why bother having all this beauty outside if I'm not going to look at it more closely?

    One of my daughters is very good at treating herself. They live 300 miles from the rest of the family, and their only child takes a lot of their attention. For the last few years she has insisted on having her Friday afternoons off, and her husband works from home that day, too. Starting with an adults-only lunch, they carve out their own date time together. It's made a world of difference in their marriage.

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  11. I'm horrible at treating myself. The thought is always, "Why am I spending on me when I could be buying for the kids/the hubby/someone else?" I don't even like buying myself clothes when I need them. Ugh. Every week I walk by the fresh flowers at the grocery store - the inexpensive bouquets - and think, "Those would look so pretty on the dining room table. It's been ages since I had flowers." Then I think how horribly impractical they are and keep walking.

    The Hubby finds this somewhat ridiculous.

    Mary/Liz

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    1. I don't mean this to sound tit-for-tat, Mary/Liz, but if hubby gives himself small treats occasionally, you should too. We women rarely put ourselves first, then we give and give to others until our own well runs dry. A pretty bouquet of flowers on the dining room table can renew your soul a little bit more every time you walk past it. That's an important thing to do for yourself, and maybe hubby will see them and catch on to what you like!

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    2. Mary, I've had to train myself to get out of this mind-set.nMy mother, who never had trouble treating herself, used to get to mad with me. I'd go out to buy myself shoes and then find something that would look adorable for my daughters instead
      Rhys

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    3. Heh. I know. And he gets annoyed with me over it, so it's not like he'd care (although come to think of it, he used to buy me those flowers for no reason...whatever happened to that? Anyway...)

      I think it's compounded by being the oldest of four. I was constantly passed over in favor of my (admittedly much younger) siblings.

      Mary/Liz

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    4. Rhys and Mary - you are my people. I am not very good at treating myself. Partly, with mani-pedis and such I hate giving up the time. I feel like a hostage in the salon which I'm sure is not the feeling that they're going for - Ha! I love flowers and plants and I'm very lucky that the Hub and Hooligans treat me to those quite regularly. My weakness is candy and I do treat myself quite frequently to that. It's amazing how often I need to stop by my local See's for a little box that I then use to motivate myself to get my chapters done. And, of course, sometimes a gal just needs a cupcake.

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  12. Kathy Reel, Susan picked you to get the signed copy of her book. Contact me at authorrhysbowen@gmail.com with your address and Ill have it sent to you

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    1. Yippee!!!! I'm so excited to have won Susan's book. I will send you my address immediately, Rhys.

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  13. When I'm on vacation (we vacation in the same place every year) I always keep out some extra money so I can buy a couple of books at a local bookstore. I bring print books with me, as well as my Kindle, but I like to support the local bookstore, and I always run out of books to read.

    A few times a year I need to have medical procedures done to treat neck pain. After one of them the doctor reminded me to take it easy for the rest of the day. I told him that my only plan was to stop off at an ice cream stand in my neighborhood to treat myself to some chocolate ice cream. (When I have a procedure done in the winter I stop off at Starbucks on the way home.) He told me he doesn't need to have a medical procedure done in order to treat himself to chocolate ice cream!

    A few months ago I started treating myself to a daily square of the darkest chocolate I can get. Yum!

    And I'm buying more books by my favorite authors, instead of borrowing from the library! (Once I retire I won't be able to continue this, but until then...)

    Deb Romano

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  15. Flowers! We have them all the time--as much a part of my grocery shopping as the food. (Mary! Please, try it!) And right now, our garden tulips are out in full force, so it's fabulous.

    Manicure, yes, pedicure, yes, ice cream no. :-)

    And I will buy a triple-venti-non-fat latte and enjoy it for hours!

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  16. So many "treats" in the responses involve food! That tells us a lot about ourselves, doesn't it?

    I treat my wife to an hour-and-a-half massage at Massage Envy every two weeks. She loves it and comes home relaxed and energized (if it's possible to be both at once). For myself, a dollop of Bailey's Irish Cream in my coffee mug on the weekends.

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  17. I agree, Rick. And I have never had a massage. Huh.

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  18. Treats are not only for kids. It took me a while to learn that even adults deserve a treat too. Yes, food is a nice treat. I love Rhys' idea of a picnic with good cheese and crisp white wine :-) A life coach friend once mentioned that it is nice to treat yourself after achieving a goal that you set. For example, when I set a goal of clearing out space, it is nice to treat myself to a cup of tea when I finish. Treating myself to a good book by one of my favorite authors or treating myself to a movie (now they have Rear Window Captions!) are among treats I give myself.

    Treats can be free too. Finding time for yourself to walk or to read is a nice treat. I just found a wonderful book about Hygge, which is a Danish tradition. Not free, though the book was worth spending the money.

    Treats like a massage costs money, though it is worth it. I was exhausted after a plane ride and treated myself to a massage.

    And congratulations to the winner of Susan's book yesterday :-) Wish I had won. Look forward to buying a copy at Bouchercon, if not before then.

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  19. Rhys, your list of treats fits me to a tee, especially the oysters!

    I'm afraid I'm too good at treating myself. I got in the habit of buying fresh flowers in London, and now that we have Trader Joe's just down the street I buy fresh flowers almost every week. And orchids! I usually have a couple on the dining room table and one on my desk.

    I do get manicures and pedicures once a month or so. It makes so much difference in how I feel, and the massage is divine. My hour and a half at the nail salon is a huge stress reliever.

    I will treat myself to a latte when I'm out, but at home I make fabulous pots of tea from loose tea I order online. (I don't even consider that a treat anymore--it's a necessity.

    I'm not crazy about chocolate or ice cream, but give me a good bottle of white wine and some really nice cheese and I am a happy girl.

    I have to admit that my really really really big treat this spring has been putting a lot of new plants into the garden. It is expensive, but it gives me such joy, and there are certainly worse ways to spend money!

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  20. My husband is pretty good at bringing me flowers for no reason, which is lovely.

    My go-to treat myself is Coffee Nut M&Ms. I get five if I meet my writing goal for the day. Five is enough to feel like a treat but won't widen my ass any further. :D

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  21. Books are my big treat. Except they are more a necessity. But seeing books coming out by favorite authors and ordering them is pure joy. Buying new plants for our mini-yard is also a treat. And one I need to indulge soon since we had a rare freeze this winter and a number of things went south. Getting dessert when we are eating out is a treat. I usually don't have room but occasionally will split something with husband Frank. I'm on a diet (finally, as threatened) so dessert is out. Although I deliberately broke it last weekend in anticipation of wedding cake. Darn it. I had high hopes and the cake was nothing to write home about. I should have had a cannoli the night before instead. Everyone was raving about them.

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  22. Books.
    Flowers.
    Mani/Pedi.
    Ice Cream.
    Room service in my jammies while traveling.
    And the biggest treat is doing these things guilt free.

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  23. Of course we deserve treats! I once dropped by a friend's apartment and saw his table set with candles, linens, good dishes, wine glass. I assumed he was expecting company and said I'd leave. He assured me he was dining alone, and explained that anything worth doing for others is worth doing for oneself.
    When I was waiting for the condo to sell, I decided to eat more meals at home and signed on to Angel Food at the nearest church (low cost, no longer around because it wasn't as non-profit as it professed to be). Even then, I determined that eating out with friends was still in the budget, along with inviting friends to share my meals at home. The social aspect of meals is beyond price.

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  24. I totally agree with Hank - add a few dollars to the weekly grocery budget and spend it on flowers! Or download the app for your grocery store, start using the digital coupons, and spend your savings on flowers and chocolate.
    Whenever I decide to thin out the closets and sell a few things on EBay, I leave that money in my PayPal account as my "treat fund". It improves my mood so much to know I can purchase a free-to-me treat every month or so (I thin out the closets once or twice a year).

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    1. Good plan! And I have to figure out EBay..

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  25. I get a lot of fun out of treating others in the family, but I've learned to not leave myself out these days. Of course, books are my number one item in treating myself. I've started looking for more treats for myself when I travel than bringing home lots for everyone else. After all, it's my trip I'm remembering with special treasures. They're not remembering it.

    I'm on the same page as Gigi with throwing yourself a romance weekend. That has to be one of the best, Gigi. Going out to eat with friends or by myself is a favorite treat. I love seeing and talking to a friend over lunch or supper, but I have no qualms about going out to eat by myself and enjoying that, too. Sometimes, I even treat myself to ordering an extra meal to bring home with me. Oh, and coffee is another treat. I love my coffee (like Kaye), and I keep some special coffee, gourmet or other, around, along with my regular coffee. I am drinking coffee I bought in Hawaii, where it was made from the coffee beans there, today. I have a favorite coffee I buy from a wonderful local gift shop, and the coffee has the great name of Jamaican Me Crazy. I recently ordered some Tom Horton's from Amazon.

    The end of this month, on Memorial Day, I leave with my daughter and her family on a trip to the Wizarding Worlds of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando. This is a major treat for them and myself. I cannot deny the child within me on this one.

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  26. I forgot to mention: flowers. Flowers + cat = chewed flowers and floor cleanup (those flower bits just don't seem to stay down, do they?)

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    1. Some flowers, like lilies and tulips, can be poisonous to cats, but roses are fine, and mine seem to leave them alone. Just another reason to love roses!

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  27. My mother, who was raised in Oklahoma during the Depression, never bought anything until the old one wore completely out. She used to rinse out grocery store plastic bags to save produce in long before recycling became a thing. However, she told me once that she'd wear her shoes until they fell off her feet, but she'd spend her last dime to go out and eat. That's my deal, too. Any treat for me will involve food

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  28. Non-stop flights instead of connecting flights! That always feels like a treat! Also, I find that just being lazy feels like a treat and definitely not the norm. I seem to have the "must be productive" gene, and it's a bit of challenge to put my feet up and not worry about what I "should" be doing.

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  29. Deborah Crombie, how could I forget tea. Each night I have a large mug of hot double bergamot Earl Grey tea. It has become for me a treat like no other after a long day. I count on it. Does that make it not a treat?

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  30. The two things I will always splurge on are books and food, and I rarely (if ever) allow myself to feel guilty about it.

    Occasional treats would be:

    Mani-pedis
    Ice cream
    Fancy loose leaf teas

    But every now and then I need a little pick-me-up, and I'm reminded of this clip from Parks and Recreation (love this show) about Treat Yo Self Day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsABTmT1_M0

    It's the best day of the year!

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  31. My husband just treated me to my dream trip to England and Scotland. We just got back yesterday. We had the best time. He let me plan the entire trip, so we started out in London, went to Windsor where we attended Evensong at. St. George's on the Queen's birthday. The choir sang God Save the Queen. It brought tears to our eyes..We were sitting the Companion of the Garters choir seats! The trip just got better from there. It was my bucket list trip. My parents died last fall within3 months of each other and I'm dealing with their estate as their executor. It has not been easy to say the least, so this trip was heaven. My usual treats are the same as everyone's-- flowers, massages, etc.

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  32. Since I just lost 25 pounds (thanks, Jenny Craig!) my only go-to treat is air popped popcorn. I do dress it up with some zero calorie but very tasty toppings. Yes, good-bye ice cream, good-bye Safeway Susan Cookies. But I don't want those 25 pounds back. Saying good-bye to them makes me the happiest.

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