In an attempt to keep my hands and mind busy (and therefore, not in the vicinity of the kitchen), I'm focusing on things that are my favorites in life. At least today. The list changes, you know. I mean, I've been a huge fan of mint chocolate chip ice cream for my entire life. But that was pretty much when getting an ice cream cone with exotic ingredients was a treat...not an everyday occurrence.
Growing up, we had vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry or the gosh-awful combination of the three...neopolitan. In my house, everyone would combine the chocolate and vanilla (primarily the vanilla) and the sad little strawberry would get ignored until we were desperate. We also had trips to the Dairy Queen for soft serve...or McDonald's for a sundae. I still find it a little difficult to eat the McDonald's ones, though, after cleaning those sundae machines on Sunday nights. I won't elaborate.
Getting cool ice cream normally involved either a Baskin-Robbins, an ice cream parlor, or a Howard Johnson's if we were on the road. Yes, they used to have ice cream in the HoJo, and it was good. These days, while I am grateful for Blue Bell ice cream (but not what it does to my resolve, thank you very much)...I no longer covet mint chocolate chip like I did as a kid. Vanilla is only purchased as an ingredient to go on top of something else...like pie. In fact, I'm more likely to go toffee than anything else anymore...or Publix' Santa's White Christmas ice cream every December (except that I normally have to get it in November when they actually have it in stock.)
All of this talk about ice cream feels just a wee bit counterproductive.
11. People That Do Impressive Things
I have friends that do wonderful things...and I have those who do things that impress me to no end. Take my friend, Michele, who counsels people in crisis, my friend, Bonnie, who teaches special needs children (although she's retired this year, she has three part time jobs in the field), my friend, Michelle, who not only bakes amazing things in her kitchen but she has just received a PhD in education (and has convinced legions of kids that she is the Queen of Zaire), and my friend, Kelley, who teaches calculus...to super-bright kids. My friends from home, Kim and Kathy, were news anchors, and my friend, Marcy, is currently a weather diva on a local TV channel. I also have a friend, Lisa, that travels everywhere and does so much cool stuff that I am just in awe, and my many friends who have done breast cancer walks, run marathons, started cancer support groups, and taken care of ailing children or parents.
Seriously, people, you totally rock.
12. Dachshunds (or as I spelled it for years..."Doxens")
I am the proud owner of a shih tzu (Dixie) and shorkie (Rebel) and probably will stick with that breed from here on out. However, my friend, Pam, has the most hilarious thuggish in-your-face dachshunds that I've ever seen. One of my favorite things is to see pictures of her dogs in various action scenes and then have the fun of "captioning" the photos. We crack ourselves up with this...and yes, we are easily entertained. Because of Pam, I will never see a Dachshund that I don't like...and I will always assume that they are up to some thuggery. Because they are.
Pam is also one of the funniest people on the planet. Which brings me to...
13. People That Make Me Laugh
Life is hard sometimes...but just when you think you're about to have to eat a crap sandwich, someone will make light of it all...and it takes away the sting. I love the people in my life who do this...and who do it sometimes without even meaning to. There is nothing more unattractive than laughing so hard that you cannot control your facial muscles (or some other parts that we won't go into here...) but I highly advise it. In fact, it is really almost mandatory, in my humble opinion. So, thanks, Carrie, Pam, Kim, and one of my favorite authors, Jen Lancaster, for making me laugh.
14. Pride and Prejudice
Okay, I read this book about once every other year, and I watch the movie (with Keira Knightly...although I've been told to watch the other version with Colin Firth as well) at least once a month. I have no idea why. Well, maybe I do. Don't all of us want to find someone who is our perfect match? And those of us who are married...don't we love to cheer on those who aren't married yet? Why else do we get so fired up about hearing about upcoming nuptuals, how he proposed, or some sweet story related to a couple? Because deep in our hearts...we all want to be valued, pursued, and won. Maybe we're reliving our own story or cheering someone else on...it makes no matter.
And seriously? Who wouldn't be all fired up about Mr. Darcy being a great guy under all of that original conceit and being rich to boot? Come on, you all know it's a cool story. If you haven't read it...you really should unless you have serious ADD. If you do, just go on http://www.pinkmonkey.com/ or http://www.wikipedia.com/ and get the storyline. Then watch the movie.
I love Jesus' birthday and everything associated with it. I enjoy shopping, wrapping, cooking, baking, visiting, singing, and even as of this year...church musical programs. Yes. Finally. I've gotten over the cantata aversion. We are a "real tree" family and my house doesn't exactly look like Southern Living...but it always looks pretty to me. The schedule is usually crowded...and I'm usually happy. And even if I'm sick as a dog during Christmas...it still is a time of wonder and joy to me. So, yay!
16. The Beach
Some of my best memories are at the beach. Primarily in the panhandle of Florida at Inlet Beach...but also at Panama City, Ft. Walton and Destin, Gulf Shores, AL, St. Augustine Beach, and even the beach in California that I visited at age 18 with my uncle. It matters not when...I'm usually super-happy to just be sitting in the sand reading a book and watching the world go by.
I have had trips scrapbooking at the beach, visiting family, attending conventions, hanging out with my high school girlfriends, and last year, we celebrated Jill's 21st birthday at my sweet friend Judy's beach house. It is a place that makes me stop and think and breathe. Some people may prefer the mountains or the ski lodge...but me? It's 100% the beach.
17. Max Lucado
If I had to pick one author that has made a huge impact on how I view the world...it has to be Max Lucado. He's a brilliant writer and the man just makes me think. I've read everything he's put out there except for the newest...but it is on my nightstand. Yes, he's a Christian writer. But he takes the everyday experiences that we all have and intertwines biblical truth through those and weaves out the most amazing books. I encourage you to read them if you never have. He's an active preacher in San Antonio, Texas, and he's the real deal.
18. Bonefish Grill
For years, Big Dave and I celebrated everything worth celebrating at Red Lobster. For the past three years...we moved the party to Bonefish Grill. The cost usually makes it only for special occasions...but we have found that the food and service are excellent for a chain restaurant. So, it makes the list just on the basis of being my favorite chain restaurant. Sorry, Red Lobster.
19. Spode Christmas Tree China
About 25 years ago, my friend, Molly, gave me a plate and cup and saucer of this pattern as a Christmas present. I didn't have enough money to just buy a set outright, so over the years, I'd pick up a little bit here and a little bit there to add to my collection. That collection has grown to a ten piece place setting with tons of serving pieces that I love bringing out and using every Christmas. I even found a shower curtain in the pattern (at 75% off at Bed, Bath and Beyond...and then I had a coupon on top of it...score!) and hand towels that take the pattern into the guest bath.
Yes. I know. Obsessive.
But the truth is...I love acquiring the pieces that come out each year. I remember who gave them to me (primarily my sister, Linda) and I love using them to set a festive table. For a decorating challenged person...having cool serving pieces makes me look like I know what I'm doing. Which, of course, is one of my favorite things in itself.
20. Piggie Park Barbecue
For those of you living in Thomaston, Georgia, you know of what I speak...but the rest of you probably don't realize that this is the best barbecue in the world. I have no idea how they get the pork so tender and chopped the way they do...and the sauce! Oh, the sauce! Anyway, I used to eat the hamburger (scrambled) until I learned about the barbecue. I never turned back...and that's not to say that the hamburger wasn't good...because it seriously was.
Enough of the food talk.
Anyway...that's my second list...with more to come. Thanks for reading.