Favorite things

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As I recall some of our better threads have been ones where we shared music or book or food favorites. I decided that we needed a thread that we could add a favorite thing to now and then - so here it is.

-- Tricia the Canuck (jayles@telusplanet.net), September 14, 2003


One of my favorite places to be is here! :-) Favorite books are too numerous to mention and favorite music depends on my mood of the day. I love food with flavour of almost all kinds. So since I'm obviously going to be writing all kinds of things here, I'll start with just one favorite - mode of transportation. I love flying, and I love going to new places. Now it's your turn. Share a favorite with us and, if you'd like, tell us why it's a favorite. Maybe this will become our favorite thread ;-)

-- Tricia the Canuck (jayles@telusplanet.net), September 14, 2003.

My favorite place is the beach. When we both retire, our dream is to live down at the shore. It's really beautiful at the Jersey shore, and it's clean too. We have seen whales and dolphins and pelicans here sometimes besides many catching species of fish. It's a wonderful place to be. It's very quiet in the winter, but can be crazy crowded on hot summer weekends. Fall and Spring are just right.

My favorite thing to do, besides fishing, is to play and sing music (I play and both piano and guitar). I came from a very musical family so I guess that's where it came from!

I get irritable if I go without chocolate for more than a day or two, so I guess that's my favorite snack. I still have a button that someone gave me years ago that says "I take chocolate from strangers" ;-)

Over the last couple years I have also found, much to my own amazement, that I enjoy making up stories and writing them here at the FRL. Hmmmm. That reminds me of something... what's that string around my finger for again? I forget. . .

-- (sonofdust@faveorite.things), September 14, 2003.

Right now I am listening to Josh Groban, what intensity and clarity and feeling in his voice! That's my today favorite for music, and I am changeable too Tricia, so I hear ya.

The ocean gives me a sense of calm, and tranquility not found elsewhere. Fortunately for this desert dweller, I have had the priviledge of getting to the ocean three times this year.

As you all know, cooking is one of my favorite things, but made possible by one of my favorite appliances-the dishwasher-LOL! I think if I had to wash all those dishes by hand, I would soon dislike cooking-LOL!

And yes, one of my favorite places to be is here. I cannot tell you all how many times I have come home from work, and pop in here, and I am laughing myself silly within minutes!

Thanks to each of you, for sharing of yourselves, and YOU are among my favorite things!

-- Aunt Bee (Aunt__Bee@hotmail.com), September 14, 2003.

I too hope to retire somewhere near the sea. My husband loves to fish and I just love that big expanse of ocean and sky.

My favourite things are hugs from my (grownup) kids, listening to music (loud) and watching my prints develop. It is a huge thrill to hold a print that is all my own work. It doesn't matter that they are not very good, I did it myself.

-- Carol (c@oz.com), September 15, 2003.

Another favorite is walking in our cool fall weather. Today was cloudy and just above freezing for a high. This is a bit cooler than our average, and we're expecting up into the high teens (60's) for the weekend. However, the trees are now quickly changing colour - and the golds and greens of fall glow in the dull weather. Lovely.

-- Tricia the Canuck (jayles@telusplanet.ent), September 17, 2003.

Travelling is another favorite, even if it's just a quick weekend for a conference. I'll be in Nashville this weekend (from tonight 'til Monday, in fact), so stay well and I'll try to have a postcard for you when I return.

Which reminds me, reading Lon's postcards and his and Rob's stories are other favorites. We just had a story, what do you suppose is the likelihood of a Lon postcard sometime soon? (I'm a greedy, selfish so-and-so, ya know)

-- Tricia the Canuck (jayles@telusplanet.ent), September 24, 2003.

Tricia, how was your trip?

I would love to hear Rob play the piano or guitar and sing! That is SO cool!

Carol, I would love to see some of your prints!

I just got back from a wonderful week in Colorado. You already know how much I love to travel. :-D

I especially love mountains and sunsets.

I love to hear the wind sing as it whistles through the pines on mountain peaks...

I sat beside a river for about 30 minutes and listened to the water rushing over rocks. I know why they call them "babbling brooks". :-)

I put a picture of a lake on another thread, but I will add one here that I took of the Aspens changing color in Rocky Mountain National Park:

I love nature!

And I love our little cyber-community here at FRL. :-)

-- Gayla (privacy@please.com), September 28, 2003.

I'm t-t-trying not to p-pout. I ain't got no favorite things, 'cept a mule. And I don't go nowhere, 'cept the barn.

-- helen (kissing@mules.is.work), September 28, 2003.

Looking back at the old threads, and this one reminded me of something I wrote in '95 that seems to fit. I'll burden you with it herewith:

As is often the case with me, reading encourages me to write. On the way to Wichita, Kansas on a business trip, the Jim Shahin article in American Airlines' inflight magazine (Your Favorite Things, American Way, Sept. 15, 1995, pp38 & ff) got me to thinking about articulating some of my favorites.

My Favorite Things

It occurs to me that favorite things are all memories. Your past experience defines your future expectations, thence your favorites. Or maybe the nostalgic remembrance of them is itself a fovorite thing or time or experience. Some of the most fondly remembered items on our lists could be one-time-onlies, you know. Remembrance of your first kiss (your mother doesn't count) may be among your all time biggies. For the more experienced, this may be modified to "first kisses" as with new dates or etc. They all count, I suppose among favorite things, sensation category ("things" not being taken literally for our purposes).

-- J (jsnider@hal-pc.org), October 10, 2003.

(Oops. Fingers flying, I hit the "Submit" key by mistake. I'll continue...)

A list of my favorite things would have to start with the one-timers, frequent visitors to the consciousness. Number one is that finality of decision that accompanied giving my life to Christ. Sort of bound up with this is the sense of release tha came with the knowledge that a change had taken place and I was no longer the same person, burdened with the need to justify or forget or merely endure the guilt and shortcomings of what had previously defined me. Very stange, wonderful and permanent.

After that comes my most sensational physical experience: what the girl did to my right ear as I was driving back to campus after our second date. Unforgettable! Another one-time deal.

Others that rank right on up there have to be the repeated (but not "oft") sensation that you can get driving fast on back roads when you brake hard into a corner, feel the car squat an load up with g's, then sort of lift itself, almost as if onto the balls of its feet and get light and drift as you apply judicious power and prepare for everything to "bite" again. You can almost imagine that the brief floating sensation felt good to the car itself.

Or the times playing handball that you dove head first for a well hit shot near the floor in the back corner and rotated your shoulders so violently as you plucked it up that the whip spun you upright, and you landed on both feet facing he front wall. I think an ice skater must feel a similar sensation when both legs are in the air in mid- camel.

The sensation of the self-generated wind in your ears as you lean into a turn at the track when you are still fresh and pushing it.

Scents have to include new-cut football fields and faint essence of charcoal starter drifting on the autumn coolness. And that marvelous smell just as a dust-settling rain shower hits.

The expectancy that a well-hit golf ball will maybe land on the green from 'way out somehow outweighs the satisfaciton even when it does.

Thick and kind-of flat stainless steel ice cream spoons that won't bend.

Any old Pontiac muscle car. GTO's, 2+2's, Firebirds.

The "Regular Number Seven" knife from the company that Jimmy Lile, "the Arkansas Knifemaker," founded.

Classic-stocked, Mauser-actioned guns by Don Morgan of North-Central Texas whose care about line and the marriage of wood to metal are evident.

The Bible.

The F-101 Voodoo, the one with the little, chiseled reconnaissance nose. And the B-26's, p-38's and P-51's whose models are suspended from threads below the ceilings of my boyhood.

An Eagle Claw stainless one-ought trotline hook.

A curving eyebrow hair, spiraling and tapering with elegant, indefinable, inconsistent precision to a point so fine that the end of it just seems to disappear.

Nice, flat-sided calves over Achilles tendons you can shave with. The instep of her foot in any kind of heels. The curve of a lady's bent elbow and forearm.

A strikeout pitch you throw hard down the middle, and he swings at it,and you no longer control it or the outcome, but then the catcher takes it out of his glove and gives it that little single shake toward the mound to show it's one of his favorites, too. Then he returns it matter-of-factly to tell the other team that it was nothing, and they should expect such treatment all night long.

The hull profile of the battleship New Jersey and her sisters.

The wall-to-wall Christmas tree to behold flying out of DFW, especially to the South, on a clear winter's night after a norther's cleared the air.

The silent "yeah" or maybe "aha" of understanding an elusive math concept with which you were expecting to struggle.

Scott Fitzgerald's portraits of the quiet approach of some inevitable loss.

The "Sarge" characters on TV'v "Tour of Duty" and in the old "Sergeant Rock" comic books. Wilfred Brimley's "Judge" character in "Absence of Malice."

The click of a solid-head driver or three wood sounding through the pines.

The far-off sound of small town high school football bringing the encouragement of youth and enthusiasm and energy and inevitable passage momentarily with the Friday night autumn, a timeless optimistic beauty whose remembrance sparkles like a mood surging without need for discernable feature.

The sound of a well-tuned 283 between shifts, not popping or crackling but purring down and picking up. Competence. Something to be trusted. Healthy. Anxious to be at the night and the road, a kindred spirit for whom each trip might hold a journey. You never know.

The streetlight at some farm or ranch house in the blackness below a commercial flight between cities.

Knowing you've crossed into Texas air or onto her soil on the way home from anywhere.

"How Firm a Foundation, It is Well With My Soul," and "Because He lives" which can bring tears of joy and wonder and comfort to my eyes. "California Sun" which can add 10 MPH to the speedometer. Sandy Nelson drum solos. "Air on a 'G' String." The first five minutes of "Bolero." Crispian St Peters' "The Pied Piper" for the ego, Boston's "More than a Feeling" and the Lovin' Spoonful's "Six O'Clock" for the confusion, and Cyrkle's "Red Rubber Ball" and Simon and Barfarkle's "I Am a Rock" for the recovery (all faking it). Elvis' "Just Tell Her Jim Said Hello," Willie's "You Were Always On My Mind" and Dolly's "I'll Always Love You," for my pity parties. "My Girl" and "Love" (by Mercy) for a reality check. Wind up with Jefferson's "Count on Me." Springsteen's "Darlington County" and "Down," and that Georgia Satellites song with "no hug-ee, no kiss- ee" in it (I can never remember the name)just for the pure, rockin' fun of it. Sprinkle in for context some Four Seasons and Animals and Sheb Wooley's "Mule Skinner Blues" and Johnny Cash and Niel Diamond's "Stones" & "Susanne," Linda Ronstadt's "Desperado" and Roy Orbeson and Johnny Rivers and Gordon Lightfoot and Elvis' and Everly Brothers, some more Simon & Garfunkle and Creedence and a couple of Three Dog. Maybe some Who and Dionne Warwick.

Comfortable shoes.

Baseball caps with bands that don't let the sweat run into that wrinkle at the corner of my left eye.

Breezes that rustle the leaves and sound in the treetops, allowing you to move on the game trails without being heard.

Whitecaps (provided you can watch 'em and don't have to fish on 'em).

The feeling of pushing a shovel into soft dirt.

The "bam" in your ears and skull and shoulders and collarbones, then that temporary stasis when you hit another football player, just before your inertia or angle or balance carries you on over him.

The instant when you think a black bass has taken your plastic worm but before you strike him to set the hook.

The golden curve of someone's fishing line in the evening sun as they cast a lure with some mist coming off the reel and droplets off the line like little gold shooting stars in a condensed universe.

The little squeaking sounds the edog makes as he plays or chases cats or warns off intruders in his dreams.

Smooth touchdowns at airports that make you think the pilot has some finesse and feels the art of his job.

The delicious click of high heels down a hall before you look to see who it might be.

The hollow "thlup" of a shotgun shell being extracted from the chamber or the brief, artillery-like ring sometimes when an empty is extracted from a bolt action rifle.

Porches deep enough to cool their recessed shades.

The sound of rain on the roof when you can sleep in. The sound of windshield wipers, hiss of tires and low roll of engine at night when your dad's driving and you're short enough to stretch out in the back seat.

A bobwhite's call out there in the pasture you thought was only brown grass, mesquite and heat waves.

The tinkle in the dawn of mesquite beans and leaves covered thickly with last night's frozen rain like all the glass windchimes with just enough breeze to move them a little bit. Gently, yet impersonally. They are preoccupied and don't care if you listen.

The bottom of any inbasket or sink or posthole.

-- J (jsnider@hal-pc.org), October 10, 2003.

Oh, my! That's quite a list, J. It'll take me a little time to absorb all that :-)

I've recent been listening to a series on life mastery (living to be the best you possible). The first exercise I've been working on is to list the times I've felt most fulfilled as a person and to figure out from that what my life's purpose is. It's quite a challenge to remember what I found to be fulfilling, rather than just elating or thrilling. Without cheating and looking at my notes, I can name just a few:

Sensing the incredible, loving indwelling presence of God, definitely these have been the defining moments of my life;

Those wonderful times of bonding with my baby daughters;

The joy of expanding a loving relationship with a friend or family member;

The successful communication of information - spiritually life changing, physically life improving or career developing, to one or a group of people.

I've gotten this far, but I'm not sure what it says about my life's purpose, yet. I'm still letting that thought simmer - when it comes to a boil, I think I'll have a better idea of where to go from here. In the mean time, I'll work on developing some more haiku. There was this absolutely fabulous full harvest moon out the other night...

-- Tricia the Canuck (jayles@telusplanet.ent), October 10, 2003.

T the C, gee, I notice that your favorite things seem, well, so much more meaningful than mine. I tend to equate favorites with those snapshots you carry around (although some are little albums like a collection of like things). You seem to have a deeper meaning for favorites, as though they could determine where you intend to go next with your life. Yours are mostly relational, mine generally event- oriented. Mine are things that happen, pleasurable events, yours progressive, building to something, pleasurable processes. We seem to have some major common ground, but I think we may have just encountered the Mars/Venus thing.

-- J (jsnider@hal-pc.org), October 13, 2003.

J - what's Mars? ;-)

Do you like haiku? If so, to make up for being relationally rather than event oriented, I'll try to form a few... I think my muse is slowly returning. I'll make them nice and generic so that those of us relational types can get nice touchy-feely about them and you event types can enjoy the scenery :-)

-- Tricia the Canuck (jayles@telusplanet.ent), October 14, 2003.

Wow, what a lovely dawn was breaking as I came home from work yesterday. The sky had bits and pieces of cloud in it - some were slate, others gold and still others a frosted pink. Down in the river valley, there were clouds of fog clinging to the branches of the trees, covering the bare branches with pink cotton candy and pooling in the open dales with whispy streamers leaking out.

Today, I was later getting off, so I missed the morning glory, but the Canada geese were flocking, trying to get their v-formations in order and honking encouragement to all the young geese who just couldn't seem to get the hang of the whole thing. Soon they'll be arriving in SOBob's pond for the winter again.

-- Tricia the Canuck (jayles@telusplanet.net), October 22, 2003.

Flew back from the Smoky Mountains couple of days ago. Changed planes in Atlanta. It was overcast in Knoxville, but raining in Atlanta, and coming and going it appeared that the Yankees were burning the city again. Arriving, the pilot brought her down quick through the low overhead then sat down hard and reversed and braked to beat the band, I think he either came in hot or overshot the front end of the runway some. The lumpy, textured carpet of autumn trees was giving off streamers of ragged fog all over the place, which angled, then dissipated before they reached the flat cloud cover.

The day before, I drove the 11-mile Cade's Cove loop up in Tennessee. It took me near three hours in stop-and-go traffic, and I didn't get out until after the sun had set. The memories of the Smoky's looking, well, smoky was not all that satisfying this trip. I somehow think they were better when the smoke was from wood fires rather than car exhausts. But maybe the sight of people in street clothes with cameras chasing deer around in the open fields put me in a bad mood.

The geese winter down here, not far from my house, really. We get to see and hear them all winter long. But they seem purposeless, as if they don't know where to go from here. They mill around and their V's cross us this way then that. They seem as confused as I sometimes feel. Another thread talks about Houston, and I'll comment from my contact that it is it's own unique and cosmopolitan city. But the Texas to which I can better relate starts at the city limits on the way out!

I envy you the scrubbed skies, crisping air, geese headed south and the expectation of more seasonal contrast. (Sometimes it looks like too much crowding makes country boys a little cynical, don't it.)

-- J (jsnider@hal-pc.org), October 27, 2003.

Snider, that was a good image of Atlanta, and the Smokies. It reminded me of my first trip out that way. I had been on a project in Georgia, or Mississippi, or one of those backward states where they boil thier peanuts, and had extra time, so I decided to see the Smokies before going back to Texas. Well, it was late March or April, thereabouts, and I didn't even have a jacket with me. I wandered around and stumbled onto Bridal Veil Falls and into Cades Cove, almost deserted that time of year. I even parked right in the road while I chased some deer through the pasture with my camera.

Anyhow, come nightfall, I found a little Mom-and-Pop motel with about 6 rooms, just as a late season coldspell arrived with big ole snowflakes. Like any south Texas boy, I ran around for ten minutes or so, screaming, with my hands over my head, thinking the world was ending. Then, finally, a coffin salesman from Detroit told me it was just snow, and I got to liking it. I was so fascinated, I just had to call home and tell all the other winter-wonderland-deprived folk about it.

Well, this was such a little place, they only had one phone, out on the wall by the office, which was empty by then, as Mom and Pop had obviously gone to get some boiled peanuts, no doubt. I rushed out for just a minute to make a quick call, in a T-shirt, bluejeans, and my socks. Of course you've figgered it out by now, the old door swung shut behind me, and locked tight.

I tried running around screaming again, but the natives had already seen that show, so I ended up kinda puffing on my hands, and thinking how sorry they would all be, when they saw me froze solid in the morning. I was, actually thinking of letting myself freeze with my finger in a lude jester, and I don't mean picking my nose. But, finally, the coffin salesman came out to ask why I was standing half naked in the cold like that. Naturally, it could have been because I left my room key along with my car keys and my wallet in the now-locked room. But, to save face, I told him I was in training for the Canadian National Polar Bear Wresting Team.

Turns out, he was actually born in Canada, eh? And wanted to make a donation for my training. So I got his credit card with the promise to only charge enough to buy myself a new pair of polar bear wrestingly togs, as mine had gotten kinda small, and kept creeping up on me like wild indians. I took the card and jimmied the door lock, like I'd seem my old maiden aunt do a hundred times, before they finally sent her up to the big house, and got into the room just before the frostbite became serious.

This is a true story, almost, and I really did get locked out that night. But just to show the coffin salesman what great sports we are in Texas, I went and bought him a new $300 leather jacket. Got one for me, too.

I never thought he had that much room on that credit card, or I would have gotten him something nicer.

-- Lon (lgal@exp.net), October 28, 2003.

Lon, you slay me. I am slain.

-- laid out helen (not@here.not.here), October 29, 2003.

Oh my! A lude Lonsicle. Thanks for the chuckle.

-- Carol (c@oz.com), October 30, 2003.

Hi to Tricia. There has been some large sun storm activity lately, so keep an eye out for aurora's. We wont get to see any down here as the our seasons have balanced themselves out. One beautiful Autumn equals one lousy Spring. I can't complain though as we are now on Statewide water restrictions so the rain has been very welcome.

Speaking of Spring. One of my very favourite things is watching the father blackbirds giving their young the "how to fly up onto the fence" lesson. That's about as high as they ever need to go.

Has anyone else ever picked up a fallen nest and marvelled at how cleverly it is constructed by a creature with no hands? It still amazes me even at my age.

-- Carol (c@oz.com), October 30, 2003.

Carol--A young blue jay crash landed onto (and into) the top of our holly hedge a couple of years ago. He was accompanied by an adult (his mom from the sound of it) who wouldn't let him sit there and die, and scolded him into summoning up just enough energy to make it to the lowest branch on the pecan tree, then, later, over a board fence and gone. He was so tired. Yes, birds are pretty amazing builders considering their limitations. They stay at it until it fits, using prodigious amounts of energy for the simplest tasks.

Lon--Man, that's...that's...uh...oooKaay, then. I once took the Devil's advocate side in a negotiation practice session with my boss. He really got into it and began to get red-faced. After we were through, he looked at me funny and said "you're dangerous!" I'll say the same for you. Ol' Lon, YOU'RE DANGEROUS!

Here's another snapshot from last week.

"Great Smoky Mountains Nat'l Park--an international biosphere preserve," the sign said. I was still lamenting that I hadn't taken a picture of the old Pink Motel sign in Cherokee. I have a thing for old theater fronts and drive-ins and motel signs, but didn't turn around when I had the chance and am now wondering, as always at such times, if it'll still be there the next time I come this way or whether I'll ever be this way again.

There was a "Watch for fallen rock" sign. Seems I recall "watch for falling rocks" signs in the Rockies. I guess the Smokies are thought of as enough older that their falling rocks have become fallen rocks.

35-40 mph behind RV's and sightseers through the park. The rent car, a Ford Taurus, has barely enough power to pass on the only spot I've seen to do so in miles. I think back on my reflexed youth and how I may not have been so patient then and how the old Skylark wasn't so hi-powered either and how it's the Lord's fault I'm alive and not my own and how it might have been different if I'd been growing up here. Maybe there wasn't this much traffic years ago.

The road winds through the compliment-strewn hills, crowded with foreign plates--Michigan before my own Florida ones. That long rock slope over there, gray and striated with whatever geologic event put it there to make fun of mere sun and wind and rain like the slate colored beard of the mountain itself, those body and head-sized rocks of the same dark color, their angles rounded off and around which flow the sparkling clarity of white lightening--did Amos and other kin from four and more generations back whom I never knew look on these same stones? I know they did. Though we're still twenty or more miles from where their own stones finally plopped in and sank to the mound beside that old Methodist Church after their last skip, they looked on these as sure as I'm born, and now I see them now and reach way down.

I carry my flat Texas song over the top to the Tennessee side and discover that it interplays nicely with the melody of these hills. The angling sunlight sets out an indecipherable puzzle of random streaks on the road and highlights the red and yellow treetops here and there against the now-shaded backdrop. The shadowed green darkness of vegetation below the trees runs down to dance and frolic on the soft moss among the stone ruins of the streams to the tune played by the water nymphs who inhabit the clear pools and whose whispered conversation is almost covered by the sound of their instruments.

Without the congestion behind some slowpoke four cars in front of Michigan, I would rush down the slope toward Gatlinburg to the rhythm of the winding contours of the mountain, catching my breath at the way her skirts undulate in the sunny coolness of autumn, thinking myself young again.

-- J (jsnider@hal-pc.org), October 30, 2003.

How lovely, J! Thanks :-)

-- Tricia the Canuck (jayles@telusplanet.net), October 30, 2003.

How about chocolate chip cookies with peanut butter? Another favorite for me.

-- Tricia the Canuck (jayles@telusplanet.net), November 01, 2003.

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