Lifestyle, On the Lighter Side

A Few of My Favorite Things

In honor of the 56th anniversary of the release of The Sound of Music, and that song we all know and love — “My Favorite Things” — I decided to compile a list of my own favorite things. Just for fun. and in case you might want to give me something.

1. Mint chocolate chip ice cream. In a waffle cone, because that’s the right way to eat ice cream. Or one of the right ways. There’s no wrong way, really.

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. Now, there are some things I don’t love about it (having my carry-on bags dissected at the security checkpoint comes to mind), but overall, flying is a net positive circumstance. I mean, why would I say no to skipping rush hour traffic and carsickness to get to my destination in a fraction of the time?

6. Blue and white china. As Frances would say, “a real china tea set with pictures all in blue” is the best kind to have.

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 salty bodies of water — 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. Spotify. Music and podcasts all day long. It’s a must-have.

11. Coffee shops. Coffee, music, tasty things, ambiance… all the good stuff in one place. Bring a book or your laptop if you want to hang out alone. Bring a friend or two if you don’t. It’ll brighten your day either way.

12. Snow. Pretty to look at, fun to play in, cancels school. Yes, you have to shovel it. But really, that’s a small price to pay for the privilege of living in a Christmas card scene, IMHO.

13. The Lion King. Yes, I’m a grownup, and my favorite movie is a kid movie. I used to feel self conscious about this. Then I looked around at all the people who are into Star Wars, and now I don’t feel so bad anymore.

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 zip code.”)

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 (certainly not the coffee!), but this is a happy exception.

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 Sim Redmond Band. One of my favorite obscure indie bands. Great warm summer 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. Fireworks. The bigger, the better.

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 can either cover it up or disguise the mistake as something else. And if that’s not possible? 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. Farmers’ 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.

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. Except at those times when the resemblance to real life becomes uncomfortably noticeable, and then it’s no longer quite as entertaining.

31. Swimming. Splashing around and floating on your back looking at the clouds also passes for “swimming”. (We have low standards here.)

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 adds to the appeal, though I’m not really sure why.

33. Silver jewelry. Or nickel or pewter or silver-plated, I really don’t care.

34. Foreign languages. Delicious foods are said to “melt in your mouth”, and certain languages have a similar effect on one’s ears. Russian, Swahili, and Greek are personal favorites of mine.

35. Tiramisu. Heaven on earth. It does, of course, have to be a properly made tiramisu. Do not take short cuts. Do not substitute cream cheese for mascarpone. Your sins will find you out.

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. Unfortunately, they are a tad culturally insensitive. C’est la vie in the 1930’s and 40’s!

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 crunchy sound of dogs eating their kibbles. I know, I know, if nothing else on this list has called me out as a weirdo, this one will for sure. But I can’t be the only one.

42. Notes from a Big Country by Bill Bryson. For my fellow Americans, this book will make you thankful that you live in the good old USA. Or embarrassed that you live here. 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 strange 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.

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 came out from the rock I’d been living under, so I’m not anymore. But I still have a special place in my heart for Faith Hill, who was my favorite. 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 heyday. 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.

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?

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