In the space between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I always watch The Sound of Music. When younger I would scarce admit liking this movie or Julie Andrews voice, but it is one of the happiest, most optimistic movies. The belief that through singing and hiking over the Swiss Alps in clothes made from brocade draperies meant you could escape Nazi Germany….well alright then! It may seem marmy on the surface, but it is the message of hope, the strength of character to defy the cultural norms and take the lean, maybe more treacherous path. Fall in love with the nanny, who sings and lets your children swing in trees like street urchins. Fall in love with the woman whom makes your children laugh and giggle and sing like angels from heaven when their hearts were ground into dust by the death of their mother and the militaristic, terrifying silence of their father. And the sweetest song all is A Few of My Favorite Things.
Over a life, what was once favorite can change or can be hyperlinked to memories or feelings that have been morphed or mutated, no longer happy or sweet or heart rending. The once favorite thing can be a poison dart, a toxic superfund site, a beautiful letter filled with anthrax or a radioactive relic: ancient, precious and lethal. Until you walk by it with a Geiger counter, you have no may of knowing it is the source of your baldness and bleeding gums.
So, when you pick the unexpected road, the one less traveled, the not yet available on the GPS or Google maps, you start to accumulate new favorites and because your course has changed so dramatically, these new things are so foreign and unrelated to your previous preferences, you can’t easily explain them. Incongruity is common.
These are a few of my new favorite things:
- Separated from my oldest sister by a seven year gap in birth order, we had almost no association as children. My earliest memories of her were her as a teenager. She was always grown: tall and graceful and whacky. She and her friends laughed and had innumerable inside jokes. She was thin; she liked to cuss, she smoked cigarettes (but a brand far cooler than my parents’ Kents and Salems) and she was smart. And now I get to be part of the inside jokes, the humor, the silliness. And she even leans on me from time to time. Having her in the same town, having her son just three years older than my oldest has made this new fork in my road manageable.
- A familial knack for etymology. We have always made up words, words that had meaning only to us. Since I have had to trade in my English-to-marriage dictionary for the English-to-divorced edition, I have had to stop using so many words that do not translate outside of my marriage. They just take too much time to explain. I am thrilled to start a new lexicon. The newest edition to our in-house dictionary:
- Snepeeze [sneh –peez’] -verb, to leak small amounts of urine as a result of sneezing. Origin: 2005-2010 [ middle motherhood]
- Manufacturers’ warranties on automobiles. What a luxury! Talk about feeling like a princess! So my car spits out the front passenger window like a watermelon seed and I call the dealer in Orange Park. Please note: The Lexus of Orange Park is 70 miles away. Well, they send a flat bed tow (tote) truck to my home. They put my schweet Teacake on it a take it to the dealership. He gets an overnight stay at the Betty Ford Clinic and the dealer VALETS the car back to me today. Seriously! Isn’t that the absolute bomb?
- iTunes and its Genius suggestions. Like this when I am power searching for this. And how weird is it that NPR does stories on them both? I am in some kind of mind meld with the producers on NPR. It is creepily Borg-like.
- The Big Bang Theory. So, I am a bit slow….I know…..the show has been on for what FOUR season? Holy Cripes, this is a funny show. It gets my geek on and few things make Geek so amazing and funny.
- Fig jam I made with brown turkey figs. It is amazing spread on toast with bacon crumbled on top. It was my breakfast this morning.
- Flickr and the wonderful world of photography or rather photostreams taken by similarly ordinary folks that see beauty in their own worlds and try to capture it. I am enamored with this farm and these plants and the baking here.
- These little notebooks and calendars. I have had such great satisfaction with the items I have purchased from Jengs shop. I found her through Etsy.com
- Canning and preserving. I am really enjoying this. I love the idea of a pantry or a larder. Apparently, I am not alone. So self-sufficient. I plan on making salsa this weekend.
- Pencils sharpened to a fine point with an eraser added to the back end. Me and my editor pencil.
- Farmer’s markets. They keep getting bigger and better organized. Supporting local farmers, local growers, local indie businesses.
- Independent businesses = independent thinkers. I like to collaborate with people who are perfectly fine being responsible for their own stuff. I’d rather spend my dollars at an independent store than a chain.
- Quilting and my renewed enthusiasm for it. It is the gadgetry that gets me. A fresh blade in a rotary cutter is a thing of beauty.
- My oldest son asking me if I have any poetry books and then being selective about which poems he submits as part of his project.
I could go on but my other very favorite thing is sleeping. I am a great sleeper. Sleep comes easy…..if I would just get up and go to bed.