Seriously, people, I am on a roll. Being the Princess of Overkill like I am...I have several more of these lists. Oh, who am I kidding? Several? The term "several" implies seven or eight. I have twelve. And I'm not done. Of course, you may be done...and I'll respect that...but in my quest to keep my hands and mind busy and away from the pantry/refrigerator/freezer...I'm writing.
My alternative is cleaning. So...I'm writing. Seriously.
21. Free Stuff
Years ago, when I actually still could stand in front of a Coke or vending machine without intense feelings of guilt, I used to love it when that little spirally thingy would "accidentally" drop two of something instead of whatever it was that I'd paid for. This didn't happen often, but it was really cool to get an unexpected surprise. Today I love getting free samples, gift with purchase, and things that are no longer wanted by the original owner. I am old enough to understand that nothing is truly "free" in that somebody has to pay for it somewhere...but I do love it when I'm the recipient. This is probably one of the reasons that Big Dave and I are so thumbs up on Costco...the samples. Never mind that whole "membership fee" thing.
22. Photo Albums
When I was a little girl, I enjoyed looking at photo albums and school annuals of my mother and grandmother through the years. I'd imagine them as little girls and looked to see myself in their faces. I still enjoy looking at the photo albums of friends and seeing trips, weddings, and new babies. Time passes so quickly that we hardly have time to notice...but those photo albums are the permanent reminders that we had an awkward stage, were once thin, or we can use them to remember our natural hair color.
Oh, maybe that's just me.
Anyway, what do we do when we go through most of the vitally important passages in life? We drag out the photo albums. Most graduations and rehearsal dinners include a slideshow...and we watch them knowing that time truly does fly. Too quickly.
23. Italian Food
Now, do know that I have moved beyond Chef Boyardee...but if you ask me what kind of food I'd choose out of all alternatives? Italian. Preferably a little hole in the wall place that has really super-good homemade Italian food. It is the absolute best. Of course, I won't be eating Italian food until sometime in 2016...but whatever.
24. Refrigerator Art
I am currently looking at a very beautifully colored pictures done by my little French artists, my nephew, Alex, and niece, Tara, that are on my refrigerator. One of the pictures has balloons and hearts and the other is a meticulously colored jester. Both reflect the respective artists and make me smile to see them. The days of having my refrigerator lined with artistic creations was over sometime in the 1990s, but I've recently become the beneficiary of refrigerator art that I love so much that I even have two pieces at work to the left of my computer monitor.
While I love the cold weather of winter (especially Christmas), the beauty and warmth of Spring, and the gorgeous azure blue skies and green, green grass of Summer...I love Fall. Granted, we only have Fall for about two weeks each year...but you know what I'm talking about, right? The leaves are turning colors and the sky is so blue that it looks photoshopped. The temperature is perfect...not too hot and not too cold...and somewhere in the background I hear an SEC football game. Add wings on the grill and an occasional breeze with the scent of tea olives...and I'm happy. Very happy.
26. People You Can Depend On
In this life, there are people you can count on...and there are people who you can COUNT ON. Those people who you don't even have to ask...because they are already in the kitchen cleaning out your refrigerator and making you a bowl of soup. People who say they'll do it and actually do. Who will offer their time to make your life a little brighter and who you can show your true self to because they don't scare easily. In my life, I have a lot of family that I can count on...but one person that I know that I could call from jail and he wouldn't even question it...is my stepfather, Ralph. And just in case you're wondering...NO...I've never placed that call...thankfully.
He is the person that I like to talk to when I am feeling bad about myself and I need someone to remind me of who I am. He never judges...but tells me things like "I always knew that you could do anything you set your mind to." I mean...doesn't everyone need someone like that?
I know that I try to be a person that others can depend on...and I try very hard not to take their trust lightly. I believe that it is biblical for your "yes" to be "yes" and your "no" to be "no" and so that is what I try to do. But I'm not perfect. Not even close. And when I'm not...now you know who I call...
27. The Smell of Fresh Paint
Those of you who know me know that I have absolutely no business whatsoever anywhere near paint. I can't paint according to Big Dave, and I'm fairly certain that I have no artistic ability in this arena. Other than one picture that I painted that looks somewhat like it was supposed to...I'm pretty pitiful.
But I do love the smell of fresh paint. To me, the smell of paint means that something is refreshed and renewed. It is comforting...and it also means that Big Dave has worked me into his to-do list somehow. Both of those are win-win, yes?
Over time, I hope to be able to make some peace with paint...so that I won't feel so awkward and unworthy when I am dealing with it. But in the meantime...I'll just enjoy the smell of newness. Works for me.
In my life, I have seen many tragedies, but I've also witnessed many, many miracles. In fact, I smile at every pregnant woman I see...because I know that she is participating in a miracle as she awaits the birth of her new baby. I have seen lives spared, watched families pray children out of dire situations into life, and even watched two friends raise a son who is a miracle child.
His miracle is that he was saved by a perfect match in the bone marrow of his older sister. She was three years old at the time. He is now in the 6th grade...and she in the 9th. Miracles.
I know that God shows up in a big way sometimes...but other times in ways that only we see. The decision that you struggled over only to find out that you made the right one years later. The lump that is benign. The series of events that brings a person into our lives that we cannot possibly imagine living without. The fact that we wake up every morning and are blessed beyond measure.
Miracles. Everywhere. You just have to open your eyes and your heart to see them.
29. Big Chic Fried Chicken
If you are from Thomaston, Georgia, you know of what I speak...but if you are not...you can only imagine. The. Best. Fried. Chicken. On. The. Planet.
Seriously. Trust me on this.
The funny thing was...I really began my love affair with Big Chic with the fries. The steak cut fries that they'd stuff into a small white bag for the bargain price of $.75. Okay, that was back in 1981...but fortunately...not much has changed taste-wise. If you want one of my top 5 favorite meals ever...Big Chic chicken filet sandwich with mayonnaise, mustard and extra pickles...with fries...and a large sweet tea. Slaw optional.
Yes...Big Chic is at least partially responsible for making me a big chick. Pun intended.
30. Long Term Friendships
One of my favorite things is that I have a lot of friends that I've been friends with for years. We may not see each other often...but I still love spending time with my friends and enjoy catching up with them from time to time. My high school friends and I have been to dinners, a weekend in Warm Springs, GA, and a trip to Panama City, FL. The funny thing? It doesn't matter that we went to school together thirty years ago...or that we might have not been the closest friends. We were together then...and we care about each other now.
My friend, Dee, is my oldest friend. She is six months younger...so I've been her friend her entire life...and she's been mine since she was six months old. Our mothers were friends and so were our grandmothers. That's possible to do in a small town, you know. I have friends I went to grammar school with (or elementary school if you aren't from Thomaston)...high school...and those that I met at my two colleges. I have friends that live up north (Jacqueline) and west (Linda) and all over the country.
I am immensely blessed.
Long term friendships are something that I think God gives us to get us through this grand adventure called life. The funny thing is...sometimes we have to grow a little bit to fully appreciate how absolutely amazing someone is. I know my long-term friends certainly are evidence of this.