Thank you, Julie Andrews and thank you, Coach Jennie for the challenge to write about twelve of my favorite things. As you look at my list, I hope it inspires you to create your own.
1. Cool afternoon breezes. I love Fall and Spring as bearers of breezes. There’s nothing I can think of that is as invigorating and soothing at the same time as a long afternoon walk with sunlight and a breeze caressing your face. Even in the middle of the city, it takes me to a woodside stream.
2. So many favorite restaurants nearby that it’s hard to choose among them. Franny’s pizza? Tacis Bety’s tarator and mini shish kebab? Tanoreen’s baba ganoush? Anything at Japonica? Almost every nationality is represented less than an hour from my doorstep.
3. Parades. I love a parade. I’ve spent decades peeling chestnuts while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. I love the Rose Bowl parade – all those flowers, all those people spending hours and hours creating something beautiful. This year, I had a front row seat, bundled up in six layers of clothes because the temperature was 32. We didn’t care. It was spectacular. We even got caught up in the ritual cheering of the pooper scooper squad, who are very much like rodeo clowns.
4. My DVR. Long gone are the days of having to ask how something ended. If I fall asleep, my trusty DVR will reveal all. I can rewind to catch something that I missed. I’m also delighted that the current model minds its own business. My original TiVo had the habit of taping things on its own, because, it said, “TiVo doesn’t want you to ever be without something to watch.” We parted ways when the machine decided I really needed to include more foreign language programming in my life.
5. Cooking with friends and family. Thanksgiving is one of those occasions. I love the many interpretations other cooks bring to dishes. This year, it took three of us to turn the turkey and our laughter didn’t make the task any easier. For many years, a friend and I spent a cozy evening dipping orange slices in chocolate while listening to Christmas music. It’s a favorite memory for both of us.
6. The view entering Manhattan. Either the express bus or the Q train offer me a chance to say good morning to this lovely lady.
7. Movies. Good ones, less than stellar ones, sad ones, funny ones, challenging ones – I’m a movie junkie. Every so often, I’ll binge and see two or three in the same day. When I can’t sleep, TMC or AMC with the volume turned way down is as soothing as a lullaby. I find role models and marvelous quotes. “Sometimes it seems to me that the difference between what we want and what we fear is the width of an eyelash.” was worth an unexceptional plot line.
8. Festivals – especially The Great Hudson River Revival (otherwise known as Clearwater). I love singing and dancing and do both badly, so what could be better than banding together with a few thousand of my closest non-critical friends to indulge in great music, stellar crafts and great food?
9. Books and books and books and books. This is a double, because my love of books has led me to learn to love my Kindle. I’m a compulsive reader. Have been since I was about four. I’ll read a cereal box if there’s no other printed matter in sight. Although the twelve crowded bookcases in my apartment attest to my loyalty to my books, I can also be very fickle. When I’m traveling, I invariably don’t want to read what I thought I wanted to read. This used to mean packing two books, buying two new books at the airport and still another two during the trip. The 426 options currently on my device and the who-knows-how-many in the Cloud allows me to change my mind as often as I’d like.
10. The swans in Sheepshead Bay. They come back every year. They mate for life. They’re beautiful.
11. Traveling. I am grateful for conferences that take me to places I might never otherwise visit. I meet interesting people, collect wonderful stories, explore everything from potentially hokey tourist hot spots to hidden treasures. In Sicily, a friend and I were treated to a tour of the caves where early Christians hid and the strangest paintings of what were probably martyrs that I’ve ever seen. In Kuala Lumpur I let fish nibble on my feet in a unique spa experience. In Rome, a group of people on my tour bus carried a wheel chair-bound friend up the steps of St. Paul’s so he didn’t have to miss it and the Swiss Guards let him exit using the Pope’s private elevator. The photo is one of my favorites from a temple in Sri Lanka.
12. My cats. They could also be on the least favorite list, depending on the day, but for today, they’ll round out my dozen. It’s nice to be greeted at the door when I come home. I love listening to them purr. They’re lovely when they’re asleep – on their own or curled up on me. And they’re a constant source of amusement.
What’s on your list?