Thursday, April 27, 2006

Ten Simple Pleasures

Well, LutheranChik tagged me (just because I read her blog, I'm tagged; is that fair?). Grump.

Actually, I've been at loose ends today--can't get traction on the sermon, already have everything else done that needs done right now (how rare is that?), but can't seem to find anything I want to blog about either. So, in reality, thanks, LC!

In no particular order:

1. Salt and vinegar potato chips. Especially Miss Vicki's. Either you love salt and vinegar chips or you don't. I love them. My mouth is watering as I type. There's something about salty/tangy/crunchy that is soooo good--especially with either Vernor's or a good local beer.

2. A certain kind of non-fiction book, perhaps history, perhaps anthropology, perhaps cultural history, which is interesting enough to keep me reading, but not so absorbing that I can't put it down. It informs me without boring me, and is never shallow or superficial. I can read it over my morning coffee or my lunch, and put it down when I need to, but when I'm reading it, it's absorbing and my mind doesn't wander. For example, Why Civilizations Choose to Die, by Jared Diamond, or my current read, The Death of a President, by William Manchester (a classic that I had never read).

3. Which leads me to my next simple pleasure, a used book store (they're simple pleasures, not cheap ones). I can browse for hours in almost any book store (do not allow me in the Harvard Coop, Barnes and Noble, Borders, Chapters or Indigo--oh, or The Tattered Cover in Denver). My reading tastes are eclectic--I don't really read art books, how-to books, or business, but the rest is fair game--literature of all kinds (I was an English major, after all), theology, modern fiction, Biblical studies, biography, psychology, cultural studies, history of many kinds (ancient, Holocaust, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered, Renaissance, Victorian, art, American...), zoology, gardening, popular culture, autobiography, science fiction, fantasy, mysteries (I used to collect first editions of female mystery writers)... So I can easily emerge from a used book store hours later, bemused, dusty, and laden with books (but with a much lighter wallet, alas).

4. Spa day. OK, so it's not really a whole day, and it's not really the spa treatment. But a haircut and colour, brow wax and manicure are a splurge for me (unless I really go wild and have a pedicure, too). Yeah, I'm lipstick.

5. Keeping up with my planner. I have an electronic PDA, which is useful for keeping track of dates and appointments and phone numbers. But it is NOT useful for the diary-keeping I find I need--who did I meet with, what were the telephone messages, what did I talk about with person X on the telephone, etc. For that, I need a page opposite the appointment and to-do page in my paper planner (I've used Franklin Covey and Day-Timer both; I like FC better but it's more expensive). There's something about being able to look back three weeks and say, "Oh, yes, I called and left a message with that person and she never got back to me," or, "Gee, I've been carrying that to-do item for a month--I'd better do it." Organized procrastinating, that's me!

6. TV in bed. Decadence. The only thing to make it more decadent is to have a glass of wine in bed while watching TV. Well, and maybe having just had a shower. And clean sheets on the bed. And if I'm watching ER. OK, so it's taking a shower, getting into a bed with clean sheets on it, drinking a glass of wine and watching ER.

7. Sitting on my front porch, drinking iced tea and reading. It's almost warm enough for that again--can't wait! Actually, sitting outside anywhere and reading. Don't know why I love this combination so much, but I remember reading under my favourite tree when I was about 8, and again on the patio of our apartment when I was fifteen, and in the courtyard of my dorm when I was eighteen, and dragging a chair into the tiny front yard of the shack my ex-husband and I rented as our first home, and the balcony of the apartment in Germany when I was in my 20's, and the hammock in my backyard in the first house we owned...even the benches in the courtyard at seminary. The porch of my parsonage. The back deck of the first place DP and I rented together. Yep, always loved to read outside.

8. Watching my son argue a point with another adult (you don't think I want to argue with him myself, do you? I mean, more than we already do, over other parenting-type issues). He's bright and articulate, and yet he takes the oddest positions that don't (to my mind) mesh with each other (although they do to him, as he has tried to explain to me). I love seeing how intelligent and clever he is, and how he takes in what the other person says and responds; and it's also interesting to see how the adults respond to him as if he were an adult, too.

9. A cup of coffee first thing in the morning, with my Celtic breviary and some quiet time. A book on leadership I once read noted that successful leaders (not called successful because they were wealthy, but because of what they had accomplished) spent time reflecting, on a regular basis. Just sitting and thinking about where they had been, what they had done, where they wanted to go (or wanted the organization to go), and how to get there. I find that when I take that reflection time (separate from prayer time), things go better for me, too. And there's something about that quiet time, getting my caffeine rush, preparing to face the day/week with a definite goal in mind.

10. Chocolate. Anything (except chocolate-covered insects. And crosses and crucifixes.). Coffee beans. Ice cream. Frozen yougurt. Milk. Candy (Snickers, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Junior Mints, Twix, Coffee Crisp, Ritter Sport, Cadbury, Milka, Droste orange apples). Syrup. Cake. The wonderful box of handmade chocolates Mom brought DP and I for Easter from Burdick's in Cambridge, MA. Hot chocolate. Shakes. Coke floats with chocolate ice cream. Cheesecake. Chocolate peanut butter pie (Car Man makes a wonderful version). And any combination of the above (chocolate syrup on chocolate cake; chocolate-covered coffee beans garnishing chocolate peanut butter pie; a Snickers bar with chocolate milk).

11. I know the meme said ten, but I have to add this one, even though DP will laugh. Gardening. Like walking, it's one of those things I like in the abstract, and remember liking very much when I was younger (I raised corn, zucchini, and pumpkins when I was ten; the zucchini did so well, I never planted it again; we ate every zucchini recipe known to the human race and Mom took some in to work to give them away). But I haven't done much recently. Seminary, partly--the rush of finals and the end-of-semester activities kept me busy just when I should have been planting, and then summer classes kept me busy when I could have been working in the garden. But that's not the whole reason, and I'm not sure what it is. But I'm hoping to do more of that this year. We have a mess of seeds and bulbs and a bunch of bare ground that needs something planted. I love to put seeds in the ground, and then see them come up and bloom (and then turn into tomatoes or cucumbers or whatever, if they are vegetables). The part that I need is the patience--you have to wait to see them grow!

And I have to add, these can be combined in various ways--reading in my garden (or about gardening), eating salt and vinegar potato chips while reading, doing my planner thing outside, etc.. Double the pleasure!

There. If you'd like, play along--just leave a comment so I can come check out yours!

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