Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things

One of the ideas I heard at the writing project this summer involved students writing lists of things that made them happy - 100, to be exact.  I thought that seemed like a high number, but I wanted to see if it could be done.  I did place some restrictions on myself - no 'good fortune' items - health insurance, employment, shelter, etc.  Not that I'm not grateful for those things, because I am, but it would be too easy to just start listing them.  I also decided it would be too easy to start listing specific books, music, and movies. I could do lists of 100 of each of those probably.  Or at least 50.  No inventions that make my life easier - sorry Internet, dishwasher, and car.  I also wanted to keep the list items short - no time wasted on lengthy explanations of why something made me happy.  Those restrictions did make things a little more complicated.  I was going strong for the first 40, then took a break to think, and completed the list in increments of 20.  Of course as soon as I was done, I kept thinking of other things, but I went with my first instinct.  Also, my own restrictions make it look like I'm really addicted to beauty products, which is only partially true.  I'm only sort of vain.  Here it is, in alphabetical order:

100 Things that make me happy:
(Besides raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens)

1.     A clean house
2.     A new haircut
3.     Accessories
4.     Alliteration
6.     Autumn leaves
7.     Babies and children that aren’t mine
8.     Baking
9.     Barbecues
10. Birthdays
11. Bookstores
12. Brunch
13. Candles
14. Cardigans
15. Celebrating New Year in late August
16. Christmas shopping
17. Comfortable and cute shoes
18. Crossword puzzles
19. Cute planners
20. Diet Dr. Pepper
21. Dogs (especially mine)
22. Doing something well
23. Epic music while driving
24. Family
25. Farmer’s markets
26. Finding a good deal
27. Football
28. Friends
29. Giving cards that are hilariously (I think) inappropriate
30. Good talks
31. Guilty pleasure magazines
32. Hand written letters, mostly from my grandma
33. Historical fiction
34. Hot Chocolate
35. Hugs
36.  Ice cream
37. Kindergarten food – chicken tenders and macaroni and cheese
38. Kindred spirits
39. Laughing
40. Learning
41. Lemon trees
42. Libraries
43. Lingering dinners out
44. London
45. Looking for home furnishings
46. Lush brand body products
47. Make-up, even if I’m not wearing it
48. March Madness, when I’m doing well
49. Marching bands
50. Matt
51. Memoirs
52. Mizzou
53. Movie marathons
54. Museums
55. Music
56. My bed
57. Netflix
58. New school supplies
59. No line at the photo copier
60. Obscure sports
61. Old movies
62. Old photographs
63. Organizing closets
64. Our new house
65. Pedicures
66. Peonies, roses, sweet peas, and tulips (pink)
67. Perfume
68. Planning future travel
69. Playing games
70. Puns
71. Reading
72. Reminiscing
73. Ridiculous YouTube videos
74. Road trips, except for most of the driving
75. Sagas – film or literary
76. Seeing live shows
77. Seeing movies in the theater
78. Shakespeare in the Park
79. Sitting on the deck
80. Sleeping in
81. Snow days
82. Snuggles with Puggle
83. Solving a mystery in a novel before the character
84. Sporcle
85. Sprawling
86. Starry skies
87. Successful new recipes
88. Sunroofs
89. Swimming
90. Swinging in a hammock
91. Target
92. Teaching
93. The beach
94. The holidays
95. The Olympics
96. Visiting Columbia
97. Weddings
98. When summer turns into fall
99. When winter turns into spring
100.  Writing
Please leave a comment and tell me something that makes you happy!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The End of an Era

Irony - I've spent the last few weeks at a writing project, writing several pages everyday, none of which made it onto my blog.  I absolutely loved the experience, and if anyone is in the mood for some writing, I have some prompts ready to go for you.  It's also been a very busy few weeks - a new job for me, a promotion for Matt, and a new house that is my little house of dreams.  But in thinking about all this adulthood, today becomes even more cheesily poignant. 

I'm 26 years old.  That means that Harry Potter has been a part of just about half of my life.  Tonight I will see the last movie at midnight, and it feels like the end of something very grand.  I have years of memories wrapped around the books and movies, spanning from middle to high school to college.  Now, I talk about the books with my students who are reading them for the first time - who weren't even born when the madness started!  I've been to midnight movie premieres and midnight book launches.  I'm only a little ashamed to admit that for some of them I've been in costume, and I'm happier to say that I've always gone with good friends. I reread the books, I rewatch the movies, and that's something I share with a lot of my generation. 

I remember the agitation as I waited for the books, especially 7, and the heated discussions with friends - was Dumbledore really dead?  Was Snape good or evil?  Who is the Half-Blood Prince?  Who all is going to live and die?  We made our predictions, we were  shocked and surprised, and everything ended so much better than I thought it could.  I think J.K. Rowling is an amazing author.  The best part for me about reading the books is seeing how brilliantly she connected all the pieces.

When the last book came out, I had just graduated from college, the end of another era.  Matt and I each bought a copy at the midnight launch, and then went back to the apartment I shared with Katie.  We spent all day reading in three separate rooms, pausing only briefly to scarf a granola bar or something else that only required one hand to eat.  Towards the end, I had to put it down and step away for a moment because I was too emotionally involved.  I was the first one to finish, and I honest to God hugged the book.  The only time I've ever even come close to hugging a book is when I read Northanger Abbey knowing it would be the last time I read a Jane Austen book for the first time.  I don't know if I'll ever be that involved in a series again.

And now the movie tonight - I have something of a love/hate relationship with the movies, because there's so much that just doesn't make it onto the screen.  I'm a purist.  But there's still a lot more love than hate, and I'm incredibly excited for the last one.  I have a heart of steel, and only 2 movies to date have wrung tears from my flinty soul:  Eight Below and Marley and Me.  Tonight could be number 3.

In reading this over, I sound like a pretty silly fan girl.  I'm not to the level of some - I don't write fan fiction, my future children will not be Harry and Ron, and I don't have any plans for a Deathly Hallows tattoo.  But tonight at 11:00, I'm going to draw an eyeliner scar on Matt's forehead, fill my purse with snacks, and sit in a theater with hundreds of other fans.  And if you judge me for that, maybe you're just a Muggle.