Today is Black Friday. I don't shop on Black Friday. The last time I set foot in a store on the day after Thanksgiving, I was 16. It gave me anxiety. Thankfully, I'm not terribly 'stuff' oriented (or Christmas oriented) and my kid has never wanted anything so specific or so much that I simply had to rush into a store a 4am to wait in line with 2,639 other crazy people. Honestly? I'd rather pay the extra money. Or tell her she has to wait for her birthday. In August. When people are sane.
So, to celebrate my Happy-to-be-Off-Work-With-Nothing-to-Do Friday (which has, thus far, involved sleeping late, a lovely bacon-egg-and-cheese bagel from my favorite bagel shop [far from the mall], a walk in the park with my fuzzy boy, and, just now, a cup of tea), I bring you the 3rd installment of my Favorite Things...
Cottages... I love love, love little cottagey houses. Years ago, when my then-husband and I were looking for a house to buy, his ideal was a brand new, 3,000+ square foot monster on a golf course. I wanted a little old gem, like the one above, with a porch and a picket fence, in an established neighborhood, within walking distance to... everything. He said I didn't dream big enough. Well, I might not dream big, but I do dream beautifully!
Letters... Real, handwritten letters make me so happy, but they show up in my mailbox so rarely. Of course, I don't write as many as I used to either (I should really remedy that) but I still love (and collect) beautiful stationery and notecards, pens, and stamps. The idea that someone might sit down and take the time to express their thoughts to me in writing gives me the warm fuzzies. If anyone wants my address, let me know!
Camping... Being out in the woods, in a tent, is one of my most favorite places to be. It's one of the few places I can completely unplug and unwind for a few days at a time and do nothing but breathe. And camping with friends? When everyone is unplugged and unwound and breathing? Even better!
Hot Baths... I love to soak in the tub... in the dark... with a candle or two... and a glass of wine. It's got to be one of the purest forms of relaxation I know.
Swimming... The pool is my sacred space. It's where I meditate. It's where my head empties and all I think of is 'one breath in, one breath out.' I don't do it nearly so often as I should.
Calvin and Hobbes... This little boy and his tiger are so much more than a comic strip. They are full of such insight and wisdom, kindness and humor... of so much Life. I have all of the books... and I never tire of them. Recently, when I did a bloggy 're-interview' with my daughter (the first interview took place when she was 9), I asked what cartoon character she thought I was like. She said I was Calvin and she was Hobbes. That? Made me extraordinarily happy.
The UK... England and Scotland, and specifically London, are my happy, shiny places. The UK is the place I feel most at home... it's where some of my favorite people are... it's where I was born and it's where I shall wind up one day. When I visit, and I step off the plane, I just exhale, as if I've been holding my breath for months, and I know I'm where I'm supposed to be.
Watermelon... You know that story about Adam and Even and the apple? Well, if I'd been Eve, we'd still be nekkid in the Garden of Eden... unless that apple had been a watermelon. Because that is one fruit I cannot resist, that's why. I wish it was in season all year long, as I could happily eat it every single day of my life.
Inspirational People... I love stories about ordinary people who do extraordinary things. They give me hope for humanity... and for myself. The man pictured above? He ran a marathon... at 100-years-old... and he's still running. If that doesn't make you want to get up off the couch, I don't know what will.
My Dog... My dog is very often the best part of my day. I feel sorry for people who don't love dogs, because I know what they're missing (though I can't explain it in a way to do it justice... the feelings are just too big). I've had a dog (or more than one) in my life for the past 40 years... and I'll have one (or more) for the next 40. For me, Life is incomplete without one - it's that simple.
Fresh Flowers... They just make me happy. A big bouquet, from the garden or the grocery store, sitting on the corner of my desk? Well, that'll make me smile on even the busiest, most stressful day.