Raindrops on roses, and whiskers on kittens; Bright copper kettles, and warm woolen mittens; Silver white winters that melt into spring; These are a few of my favorite things…
Rodgers and Hammerstein
My friend (and by friend I mean, of course, someone I have never met in person and only know on the interweb) Callie, on whose blog I have a major crush, recently did a post about 20 of her favorite things. We’ve been talking about a LOT of heavy things here lately, so I decided we needed a little palate cleanser.
White twinkle lights. I love them so much. Year round. Indoors, outdoors. I think they are the most romantic thing in the world.
Giraffes, baby giraffes in particular. Giraffes are just so… improbable. When they run they manage to be graceful, yet somehow none of their limbs seem to be in communication with one another. In a perfect world, I would be a baby giraffe foster mother.
Live music, outside, in the summer. I love live music in any venue, really- but there is something about sitting outside on a summer night listening to good music. Doesn’t matter whether it is at an outdoor concert, or sitting on our friend Rich’s front porch while he plays his guitar and sings- I love it.
Peonies. My favorite flower of all time. They are exquisite.
Falling asleep while my Favorite is still awake. Sleep and I have had a tempestuous relationship since my marriage fell apart. I was always an excellent sleeper, apart from the nightmares. I never had trouble falling and staying asleep, unless I had a bad dream. Then I had about two solid years of 2-3 hours of sleep a night. It’s so much better now, but I frequently still have trouble quieting my mind- especially if he falls asleep first. I love the nights when he’s still up, working or watching tv, and I fall asleep first. Knowing that he is there, next to me, awake, while I drift off? It’s the safest feeling in the world.
Photography. I love taking pictures. Mostly nature photography, but really anything that catches my eye. I stopped for a few years there. I think it’s because I didn’t want a record of what my life had become. My beautiful, pricey camera sat on a shelf, untouched. I’m starting to feel the urge to pick it back up.
Pretend shopping. If you were to peek in the shopping carts of any of my favorite websites, clothing in particular, you would find many, many items which I will never buy. It is retail therapy at its finest.
The Museum of Fine Arts, in Boston. It’s Church, for me. I’m not sure I can adequately express how much I love it. Specifically, I love taking people unfamiliar with it through the museum. I love sharing what I know and love, and having the privilege of being the one to introduce it to someone. I also love THIS:
The sound of my children laughing together. There is a seven year age difference between my son and my daughter. The age and gender gap combined led to me essentially having two ‘only children’ for a long time. They didn’t have anything in common, and didn’t interact a whole lot. In recent years, the gap has closed. They have many similar interests, and truly delight in spending time together. Hearing them talk to one another, and crack each other up fills me with so much joy I almost can’t stand it.
The beach at La Push, Washington. This is not your sipping margaritas, lounging in the sun sort of a beach- no warm breezes and aqua colored, gentle waves here. The surf is furious, and loud. The water is shockingly cold. The rocks are jagged, and the sky is usually variations on the theme of grey. It has an austere beauty that somehow quiets my mind and opens my heart. I can’t explain it, really, but it’s the place on earth where I feel closest to God.
Loud music in the car. Like, really loud. Teenager loud. And also, if I’m being honest… car dancing. I have been busted many a time, dancing in my car. My favorite time was being stuck in interminable traffic (river flooded, road closed) and getting so excited and dancing SO furiously when Prince’s Let’s Go Crazy came on the radio, that when I glanced in the rearview mirror I saw the two ladies in the pickup truck behind me dying laughing. I waved, and the driver motioned to me to roll down my window. She shouted, What station? I told her. Cut to 30 seconds later, the two of them are dancing, too. Car dance parties. They’re a thing.
Teaching art. The whole process. I love, love, love planning the lessons. Thinking about the students, and the artist we’re going to study. Finding a way in, to make both the artist and the inspiration piece accessible. How to make the lesson achievable for every child. I love hearing what they think of the paintings I show them, seeing what they respond to. I love being asked the inevitable, unanticipated question. Leaving enough room in the lesson that at the end, I do NOT have 20 pieces that look just like one another. Teaching art fills me up- it’s work, but not work- y’know?
Reading my son’s writing. A while back I remember reading something my son was working on. It was SO different than I expected- not something that I would, or even COULD write about. His voice and style were so clear, and so incredibly different than mine. I was blown away. I love the way his mind works. I hope he keeps writing.
Blue teddy bears. Specifically, my daughter’s and mine. Hers is named Blue Teddy. Mine is also Blue Teddy. I know. Our knack for naming things is practically Dickensian. I got mine from my maternal grandparents when I was two, which makes him a spring chicken-like 42 years old. My daughter’s was a gift from her paternal grandfather when she was a baby. Hers typically lives in her room (note the jaunty green cape she knitted for him when she was little) and mine lives on my favorite books bookshelf. In a fire- they are both being rescued.
A perfect cappuccino. Ideally from Victor’s in Redmond, WA. Served by a grouchy Irishman, the way the good Lord intended.
Hearing songwriters talk about songwriting. I geek out over this. It’s why I love seeing artists like James Taylor and Shawn Colvin in concert- they always talk about their process. You know the show, Inside the Actor’s Studio? Every once in a while they will have songwriters on, and they talk about the songs they’ve penned. James Lipton interviewed Elton John, Billy Joel, Stephen Sondheim- I could listen to them talk about lyrics and melody all day, every day. I loved the song Vienna before I knew the backstory- now I can’t hear it without crying.
Cooking with my daughter. For a long time, my daughter wanted to be a professional chef. She’s been cooking since she was in kindergarten, and is incredibly proficient in the kitchen. I love cooking in general, but seeing her be so confident and capable, doing something that we both love? It makes me really happy.
My glorious, perfect dog. And also, probably, your dog. Most dogs. I secretly think mine is the best though, but only because it’s true.
Facebook. I love Facebook. Facebook is, indirectly, why I am writing this blog. Facebook is why I am reconnected with my cousin, Mary. Facebook is why my Favorite and I are together. It is not a guilty pleasure for me, though, because I feel no remorse.
You. You people who show up here when I sit down with my laptop and tell my stories. You who message and email and comment and say, ME TOO- who entrust me with your stories. You make me feel less alone. I hope I do the same for you. I am profoundly grateful for this growing group we have here.
Come hang out with me on Facebook and if you follow me on Twitter at @laura9perry I may actually, y’know, TWEET occasionally! What’s next, INSTAGRAM?