05 April 2018

A Few of My Favorite Things

In honor of the fifty-third anniversary of the release of The Sound of Music (okay, it was actually April 1, but April 1 this year was Easter and April Fool's Day, so I didn't want to fill my plate with too much), I decided to compile a list of favorite things. Just because it's fun. and in case you might want to give me something.

Raindrops on roses...

1. Mint chocolate chip ice cream.
In a waffle cone, naturally. Because that's the right way to eat ice cream. Or one of the right ways. Heck, you know, I think we can say about ice cream what they say about dieting and budgeting: "The right way to do it, is whatever way you'll do consistently." (You know it's true.)

2. The Pacific Ocean and beaches. For melting away a stress headache: Sunset Beach, California at high tide in late August > painkillers, ice packs, massages, green tea, meditation, et cetera...

3. The Happiness Project and Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin. If you find other people's memoirs interesting and you like the "mini to-do list of new ways to improve your life every month" concept, these are both must-reads.

4. Dry humor. Specifically, of the variety so deftly employed by Elizabeth Bennett's father in Pride and Prejudice. (Which, I realize, doesn't explain why I also love Mr. Bean.)

5. Flying. No, I don't love being cramped in an economy-class seat with my knees up to my chin, or the pressure-induced headache I get while in flight. But being able to get somewhere faster than driving? I'll take that any day over being stuck in the car. Not to mention, taking off is more fun than a roller coaster.

6. Blue and white china. Now that I'm on the other side of the wedding registry experience, gone are my days of eating off mismatched Corelle plates from Goodwill if I can help it. They say marriage helps you grow up; maybe that's one of the ways.

7. Mail from friends. Especially if it comes from another continent.

8. Books that you write in. Journals, planners, all that stuff. You can never have too many -- unless you're me, in which case you have too many but you still want more.

9. Freshwater rivers. Beautiful, relaxing, great for swimming, and -- unlike their saltwater counterparts -- they don't aid and abet anything evil that can sting you to death or chomp off your limbs. (Bonus points if there's a rope swing somewhere around.)

10. Tablets. I'm definitely late to the party with this one; I've only had a tablet since last year. But I'm sold on it. No more tripping over cords or having to balance a bulky laptop on my fruit bowl while I work in the kitchen, because I don't have space for it anywhere else.

11. Coffee shops. Most favorite place to spend money I don't have, on things I shouldn't be eating.

12. Snow. Pretty to look at, fun to play in, cancels school. What's not to love?

13. The Lion King. Yes, I'm a grownup, and my favorite movie is a cartoon for kids. It's been my favorite since it came out in 1994, and I guess it'll always be. I don't think I'm the only one, though. I never understood people going crazy with collections of movie-based merchandise from other movies like Star Wars, but with The Lion King, I totally get it. I'd probably do it too, if I didn't have a life and a 720 square foot house with no storage space. It's just that good.

14. Kona coffee from Hawaii. Coffee comes from all around the world, but the best of them all is grown right here at home! (Well, "home" in the loose sense of the word that includes "Pacific islands more than 4,000 miles away from my house.") There's just something about that volcano flavor.

15. Stargazer lilies. They're big and glorious and colorful and they smell amazing. If you're okay with pollen coloring your clothing yellow for life, that's a bonus.

16. Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies. An open box = an empty box = regret that I didn't order at least 19 more boxes.

17. Green tea frappuccino from Starbucks. There's not much on the Starbucks menu that's really to die for (in my opinion -- certainly not the coffee!), but this comes pretty close. They can be hard to find though.

18. Birch beer. Yes, it has to be birch beer. Not root beer. They taste very different. And it has to be white birch beer. None of that Pennsylvania Dutch stuff.

19. Ice cream sundaes with tons of candy and stuff. The more, the merrier. If there's some kind of "all the junk" or "kitchen sink" option on the menu, that's the one I'll be going for.

20. The Innocence Mission. Favorite obscure indie band. Great rainy day music.

21. Sharon, CT. And not just because they named it after me, either. 😉

22. Pizza. Preferably with a thin crust, tons of toppings, and made by someone other than me!

23. Cerulean. The best of the blues. Also the crayon in my box that always got worn down before all the others.

24. Psalm 104. The nature lover's psalm. Not one of the popular ones, probably because it's too long to hang in a frame or embroider on a pillow. But I've always liked it the best.

25. Explosives. I've got a lovely bunch of fireworks, / There they are all standing in a row. / Big ones, small ones, some as big as your head...

26. Acrylic painting. Easier to control than watercolor or oil, and no turpentine needed. Plus, it's very forgiving. With acrylic, if you mess up, you actually have a prayer of being able to cover it up -- or disguise it as something else, if you're good. If you can't hide the mistake? Not to worry. Just tell everyone it's an abstract. There's a pretty fine line between that and a mess-up anyway.

27. Gardening. I don't love every aspect of this, but it is the best way to get fresh vegetables. Farmer's markets are great for this too, but they tend to separate me from my money too easily.

28. Tin whistle and uillean pipes. No, I don't play these. But they're my favorite music to listen to. Fortunately listening requires no talent.

29. Maple syruping. The best maple syrup money can buy still isn't as good as what you make yourself at home. And it is so much fun! (Access to at least 5-6 acres' worth of sugar maples and an outdoor sap boiler highly recommended).

30. The Twilight Zone. Sometimes I feel like I'm living in it.

31. Swimming. Or -- if you're like me -- just splashing around and floating on your back looking at the clouds passes for "swimming" too.

32. "Come Together” by the Beatles. There's just something about the sound of this song. Also, the fact that I can't for the life of me figure out what is going on in the lyrics.

33. Silver jewelry. Or nickel or pewter or silver-plated, I really don't care. Just as long as it isn't gold. Gold makes you look old.

34. Japanese language. Delicious foods are said to "melt in your mouth", and certain languages have a similar effect on one's ears. Part of me hates to be into something that it seems like literally everyone else is crazy about, but oh well -- I am what I am. (Swahili and Greek are incredibly close seconds.)

35. Tiramisu. Heaven on earth. That is, a properly made tiramisu, with ladyfingers and mascarpone cheese. Do not take short cuts. Do not, above all else, be like one of the heathens I know who tried to take the easy way out with boxed vanilla cake mix and cream cheese. That ain't gonna fly.

36. World Market. I'd love to be able to furnish my living space by shopping here, although there's no telling how many mortgages I'd have to take out to be able to do so.

37. Tintin comics. Why aren't these more popular? I have no idea. They're hilarious, brilliantly written and beautifully illustrated. And yes, they may be a tad culturally insensitive, but that's the 1930's and 40's for you!

38. The Nutcracker ballet. I saw this for the first time when I was about seven or so. Despite the inclusion of some slightly intense scenes for children under eight (the stabbing of the seven-headed mouse comes to mind), I remember loving it and thinking that the Nutcracker was just the nicest man (wooden toy?) ever. And, well, the part about living in a land made of candy and all that.

39. English. My favorite subject in school, unless you count art, which my school didn't have.

40. Ecclesiastes and Revelation. Favorite Old Testament book, favorite New Testament book. (I couldn't pick just one.)

41. The sound of my dog eating her kibbles. I know, I know, this one will get me branded as a weirdo for sure. Wesley loves it too. We're both weirdos.

42. Notes from a Big Country by Bill Bryson. This book will make you thankful that you live in America. Or embarrassed that you live in America. Or probably both. Either way, it'll make you laugh till your sides hurt.

43. Myers Briggs. I'm a bit of a MBTI junkie. No, I don't make any claims that it's scientific or that you should base major decisions on it. But it does have some entertainment value. If I know you even somewhat well, I've probably figured out your type already (or at least taken a guess at it).

44. Freight trains. There are certain weird people in this world [me] who love trains and don't mind waiting for them at crossings, or being woken up in the middle of the night by the sound of them passing by. We're not sure why.

45. Chocolate nonpareils. Best candy ever, except of course for the mint-flavored variety that looks like a pastel-colored Hershey kiss. Slay me...

46. Blackeyed Susans. The prettiest wildflower of them all. Probably the toughest stems, too.

47. Faith Hill. I used to be a moderately-big pop country fan; fortunately I saw the light of day and now I'm not anymore. But I still have a special place in my heart for Faith Hill, who was my favorite, and especially the album Breathe, which was my jam in seventh grade (and got me a lecture from one of my teachers about "listening to worldly music." Ha!).

48. Raspberry pie. With homemade whipped cream. No explanation needed.

49. Beanie Baby cats. Like everybody else, I had quite a few of the Beanie Babies during their uber-popular days. The cats were always my favorite for some reason; don't know why. I'm not a big cat person, but I did love those Beanie Baby cats. I still have them all, though they're a bit worse for wear after so many years. Clearly, life in the dark recesses of the closet hasn't done much for them.

50. Chatting online with friends. I know, I'm so 2001. But I still love it.

51. Fun pens and colored pencils. To go with #8, of course.

What are some of your favorite things?


  1. I feel ambivalent about coffee shops especially the ones I go to. I like the white-noise enerygy in a coffee shop, untill somebody yelled, or used their wechat without headphones on...

    1. Well, Chinese coffee shops are in a category of their own for sure.