Reina tagged me yesterday, so here I am with my 10 Favorite Things list. Please note that I am not a fan of snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes. But when the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I'm feeling sad, these are some of the things I try to simply remember (in no particular order, though I did save the best for last):
1. Ocean waves on a beach. This is one of those primal things. Watching the waves, hearing the crashing of the surf and the breeze swirling in my ears, smelling and tasting the salty air. Nothing else like it.
2. Making food and drinks for friends. I don't get to do this often enough. But I love it. The combination of food, drink and friends is a sacred trio.
3. Music. Playing, singing, listening, writing, improvising, you name it. Alone or in a group. Playing the piano and singing are two of the most cathartic things I know.
4. Relaxing by a fire. Cozy fireplace, campsite fire ring, beach bonfire, etc. Like the ocean, there's something both comforting and primal about this.
5. A Blueberry Vodka Martini (or two). Granted, this one is kinda frivolous, but my list can't be all serious. These are fun to make and beyond delicious. Recipe upon request.
6. Good writing. I love reading a good book, article or any piece of thoughtful writing. Fiction, history, biographies, politics, philosophy, science, journalism, opinion, editorials, art, culture, humor, satire, blog posts, anything good.
7. Language. I've always been fascinated by how we human beings communicate, assigning simple and complex meanings to sounds and symbols and gestures--and all the different ways we do that. I studied French in high school. I learned Cambodian (Khmer) on my mission, and learned Lao shortly after. I can speak, read and write all three, to varying degrees. The adaptability of English staggers my mind. I also geek out over the writing systems J.R.R. Tolkien invented/adapted. Don't judge! I should have been a linguist.
8. Traveling. It's so fun to explore new places and discover new things about familiar places. Diving into the history, culture and food of a place is inspiring. Meeting interesting people on trips is a big part of the experience for me too. I'm more about the journey than the destination.
9. Watching Science Documentaries. Cosmos. (Carl Sagan is on my hero list). Planet Earth. Any episode of NOVA. Walking with Dinosaurs, especially with the kids. National Geographic specials. Stephen Hawking's Universe. OMSI (the science museum in Portland) has a cool planetarium film narrated by Lawrence Fishburne. (Never underestimate the power of a good narrator). Watching these kinds of programs is when I really experience the awe of being part of something bigger than myself.
10. My Kids. I have two amazing sons. I'm far from being a perfect parent. But I love my boys more than words can describe. When I see them, think of them, look at their pictures or hear their voices, I feel alive and very blessed.