I was channel surfing the other day–right after watching “To Kill a Mockingbird” for the hundredth time–and stumbled across “The Sound of Music” right at the part where Julie Andrews and the kids were all in a bed with pretty cream-colored sheets and perfectly clean cream-colored jammies. She, of course, started singing “My Favorite Things” which made me start thinking of some of my own simple pleasures this year. What can I say? She had me at “whiskers on kittens.”
1. Being freshly showered then making my bed when the sheets are fresh out of the dryer and then snuggling under them and appreciating their warmth and the fresh smell of fabric softener intermingling with baby powder and my favorite shampoo.
2. Baby Grace scents by Philosophy. (I’d like them even more if they stopped using parabens in their products.)
3. Organizing–whether it’s folding shirts and sweaters and placing them neatly on the shelves of my closet or cleaning out my kitchen cabinets and labeling every food storage container of beans, rice or pasta. (Yes, I even wore out my old labelmaker and got a new one for Christmas so I could continue my comprehensively cataloged cabinets.)
4. Trying out a new recipe and having it come out perfectly.
5. Uploading my Bodybugg data and seeing my accomplishments for the day, especially on days when I’ve take more than 10,000 steps and burned more than 3,000 calories.
6. Discovering an awesome new song. This year’s best discoveries were learning about White Rabbit’s “Percussion Gun” via a Lindsay Lohan tweet posted on People Magazine and hearing a Passion Pit concert on NPR.
7. The feeling of incredible exhaustion I get after a workout in which I push myself strength training and wog–especially as I step into a steamy hot shower.
8. Reading something I’ve written in my writer’s group and hearing everyone’s response. I may not always like the response–especially from the 60-something Lothario who thinks I hate men but treats the equine memoirists like pieces of Laura Wingfield’s collection in The Glass Menagerie–but I always enjoy hearing how others interpret my work.
9. Although I am NOT a cuddly person by any stretch of the imagination, I love the feeling of a big hug or extended cuddle with my boyfriend. No matter how grouchy, frustrated, sad or cranky I may be, it always makes me feel better.
10. Laughter. I could be having the worst day and be uber-cranky, but if I get a good belly laugh, all is well with the world again.
11. Reading. Whether it’s a magazine or a book, reading seems like the most self-indulgent activity one could ask for. How else can you escape into a different world or learn new things all from the comfort of your sofa? (In fact, this is how I’ll be celebrating New Year’s–who needs champage, Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest when you have hot green tea, Wally Lamb and Dave Eggers?)