Tag Archives: lists

Monday Listicles – The Scents of Well-Being

The one good thing about Mondays is that NorthWestMommy diligently offers up a new fan- influenced prompt, geared towards the positive aspects of existence. This week is 10 favorite smells. Like Ms NWM herself I tried to keep the list from representing all foodstuffs. Unlike her, well, you’ll see.

1. Fresh air. Not much of it around here. When I go to the mountains, even just the suburbs, I can sense the difference especially since it usually means more serene surroundings – since city life is as much soul-crushing as it is physically polluting. Fresh air works up the appetite for one thing. That leads me to the next one.

2. Barbecue. Yes I plainly see the irony of longing for and appreciating the outdoors, then polluting it just to get extra char on my burger/hot dog/ steak/ vegetables.

3. Dried flowers. the scent is as strong, if not longer lasting, than when they are in bloom. Except for honey suckles, which are wonderful when they are around. I do not have much exposure to actual full gardens (see #1).

4. Candles. Not just a source of mood lighting, many candles are scented, which can go along with a seasonal or intentional purpose. This is a tricky area, since candle scents can be overpowering or smell more like food than they really should. I have found that Crystal Journey candles are my favorites; clean light and refreshing, and if you are into meditating/ spiritual practices, you will likely find what you need here. Or get me something. Just puttin’ it out there.

5. Indian food/curry/basmati rice. Sure you can get that nice aroma from the cart food, or a divey little place in Curry Row NYC, but when you get those fresh ground seasonings in a nice rich gravy, accompanied by basmati rice with actual saffron, inhale deeply and you will reach a dreamy state. All this before you take the first bite!

6. Garlic/onions frying. This gears more towards my Italian roots. When I was younger, Sunday mornings usually meant waking up to this aroma wafting through the apartment. A good sauce takes time of course, and was an integral part of even bigger meals, like lasagna or stuffed shells. If it wasn’t our house cooking, then this was the first thing you would smell when walking into grandma’s house. Imagine if #4 came in this scent?!

7. Banana bread. I generally enjoy baking, and the aromas are great (especially when vanilla and/or brown sugar are ingredients!), but the smell of banana bread just seems to equal warmth. Pulling open a muffin is likeable to a blossoming flower.

8. Brewing tea. Whether it’s with regular leaves, green tea, spicy chai (see #5 for a 1-2 punch!), or ones blended with herbs like sage or rosemary, every aroma is clean and refreshing. Your senses will steep in the smells and the flavors.

9. Hugo cologne. I first bought this in college. I know, you grow up and move on to other scents, but this reminds me of my turtleneck sweaters and cold weather in general, as well as my more carefree days (ok that’s not completely true, college is stressful!) I never could wear it during warm weather. I always make sure to own even just a small bottle to wear from time to time.

10. Cats. When I bury my face in their cute fuzzy bellies, I get their scent. Then they wash themselves immediately afterwards since they have MY scent. Litter boxes- eh, not so much a fan of THAT part. Like babies, you wonder how something so cute can create something so diabolic. It’s the balance of nature; just keep repeating that to yourself as you clean it up. Or just burn a candle!

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Monday Listicles – Old Skool Supplies

The Monday Listicles for this week: Anything that has to do with school. All I can remember are pencils, books, teacher’s dirty looks. Those were the days. If schools were made to prepare us for the real world, why don’t we still use half this stuff?

10 School Supplies I Wish I Could Take to Work

Keep in mind if I forget to specify, any/all of these items would be in neon colors and/or featuring artwork of Transformers, Pac Man or New Wave/rock bands.

1. Lunchbox. I actually have several useable ones now, but what I would do for my old Pac Man or Dukes of Hazzard one. Metal, not plastic, to dissuade SOME bullies.

2. Lunch…in that box…already made for me. Sure I am self-sufficient, but Moms make it best, right? Yes that was a nod and plug to all you mom bloggers. Your efforts are appreciated, even if you did forget to cut the crusts off. Again.

3. Crayons. 24 pack would suffice, a 64 pack had the built-in sharpener.

4. Trapper Keeper. Sealed with Velcro, you know the contents are safe.

5. Jar of paste. For snackin! KIDDING! Mom snuck cookies in that lunch.

6. ‘Manual’ pencil sharpener. I liked making those little ‘roses’ from turning the pencil juuuust right. Crayons  should not be used in these.

7. Erasers. When shaped as cartoons/toys, they doubled as something to entertain while the teacher wasn’t looking.

8. Tennis/blue/pink bouncy ball. Normally used for recess, I wouldn’t mind a round of “off the wall” during lunch.

9. A joke book. Yes I had many joke books, and they made their way to my bookbag. I think I was independently studying to be a comedian. Jokes these days aren’t just plain funny, they are just sexual or meant to offend (I am not condemning that one bit, in my teenage years I ‘graduated’ to Truly Tasteless Jokes), but let’s give a nod to the ‘clean’ pun once in a while.

10. A watch calculator*. The first Smart device.

*Yes Ms. WWM, you are forever linked to these by me.

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Monday Listicles – Reservations for 10

The Monday Listicle for this week (yes I am just getting it juuust in on time) – Here are 10 people I would have over for dinner, in no order or seating arrangement. I will not automatically add that mandatory 18% tip for this party.

No pictures, as finding, crediting, resizing is a chore. Plus explanations are more entertaining.

1. Desiderius Erasmus. I am listing him first because whenever I am asked this question at job interviews and I am allowed only one guest, I always say him. Look up his story for the full reason, but my main reason would be he stood unwavering by his personal ideals at a polarizing movement in the church and society. That sort of character is very inspiring to me in these times, and always in my personal ethics.

2. Ernest Hemingway. He would have some good stories for general conversation, or I might ask him to hunt/fish for our dinner.

3. Rick Bayless. A professional chef in Chicago who specializes in Mexican cuisine. He knows how to throw a good party and could help me cook up whatever Ernie brings back. Plus he knows his tequila, which though I hate it, can liven the place up.

4. Lloyd Kaufman. Troma films (Toxic Avenger, Class of Nuke ’em High) has a cult following of movies that are typically low-budget, bawdy comedy/horrors with endless slapstick jokes, gratuitous nudity and bad special effects that make the graphic violence even more over the top. So yes we would have to discuss the details of Zombie Bunnies: The Movie.

5. Philip K. Dick. I greatly admire his writing; his sci-fi and philosophies are not too complicated but are deeply personal. His stories/characters go along the lines of societal and culture in his day, and now, painting a vision of the future that is entirely plausible.

6. Princess Leia. Yes the character. No, the slave girl costume from Return of the Jedi is not mandatory. But I wouldn’t protest if she did. She’s not just a pretty face; the first thing we see her do in the movies is zap a stormtrooper, then stand firm against Vader without flinching (and then later mouth off to a Grand Moff). Hemingway would respect that.

7. Misty May-Treanor / Kerry Walsh Jennings. They are a team and so count as one. As the Olympic rules go (and as with Leia), the bikini is not mandatory. Wearing their 2012 gold medals IS mandatory. Again, yeah they are sexy, but their ethos of trust and teamwork, and the willingness to work as hard at keeping that as strong as their sporting achievements is admirable.

8. Abe Lincoln. I think he and Teddy Roosevelt get invites on many of these lists- I would have to give him plenty of notice. He and Erasmus could discuss that whole ‘diligence in the face of polarized politics’ idea I spoke about. Also I could get his side of the story about the vampire hunting.*

9. George Lucas. This is who everyone would guess I would invite, if I had one guest. Well ok, fine. He gets in on the original trilogy, and for Zak McKraken (an 80’s video game), and THX 1138. However, all he gets are Wookie Cookies and Blue Milk. If Ernie somehow snags a Gungan, George gets the head portion

10. Animal from the Muppets. If all else fails and dinner is a bore/bust, he can just start a food fight. I’ll try and keep him clear of the tequila.

*there is also a low budget movie about his zombie hunting past on Netflix Instant. Review of that coming soon.

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The Sounds That Bring Fury

I entered this contest by Northwest Mommy (click box for her), which I found through Ms. Worrell. It’s all about networking. Also about new ideas!

The topic for this week is/are: The 10 sounds I cannot stand.

1. Tim McCarver / Joe Buck or Michael Kay being the announcers for baseball/football/ nascar/etc. I am always thankful when Fox isn’t showing the event. Joe Buck announces like he’s explaining to kids how the game is played.

2. The sound of construction, especially when jackhammers are present. There is always a ton of that going on around NYC, always in different phases with their associated cacophony.

3.Trucks downshifting/bus brakes squealing. Tie that in with #2 and that’s what I hear most mornings before 9am.

4. Glass breaking. What a horrible high pitched sound that is. It unnerves me- one time in particular, a glass jar smashed about a foot from me in a small room. Between the unexpected-ness of it and the sound, it gave me a supreme headache.

5. Idiotic cell phone conversations. They are always the loudest, and usually unintelligible (in English or not). There are never any conversations involving treasure chests. WHY IS THIS? There is no cell phone service in the subways (for now, and I hope never), so the best part of any ride is any that is underground.

6. Kids carrying on in restaurants. Ok, so I understand, sometimes people want to take their kids out. Sometimes they can’t find a sitter. I would be fine with it, if that family were in another restaurant on another planet. Let ‘em scream their heads off there! There might even be those parents who think the child is just expressing themselves. I have a way of expressing myself too, along with interpretative dance. Want me to perform next to you while you eat? Aw, why not? *note: babies who sit there babbling and drooling while doing those little fidgeting motions in their chair are usually cute, and are therefore acceptable.

7. Protests that consist of couplet phrases, especially “2, 4, 6, 8…”. Not too long ago, people wrote entire SONGS protesting things. They make records and everything. Yours is barely haiku length. Get a guitar and start working on it.

8. The sound of the Red Sox winning the World Series. Seeing it is just as bad. The bitter taste is pretty awful too. Actually you know what; it offends all the senses, (including ESP). Their futility was something I was hoping to hand down to my kids.

These guys led the Red Sox victory parade.

9. When the lady reading the live lottery drawing reads off numbers that aren’t on my ticket(s). That annoys the hell out of me every time, especially when I have already spent part of my expected winnings.

10. My phone ringing, while I am at work writing this post. True story. Someone must want something. WTF is that about?!

Well why should I concentrate only on the negatives? Besides the fact it is the assignment. Here are some things I enjoy hearing:

1. 80’s music. Even songs I didn’t like back then are great for me now. Even when those songs are used for commercials with butchered alternate lyrics to fit the product. Right now Liberty Mutual is using Human League’s “Human” as background music; not sure if you can claim “Just being human” in the accident report. It sure doesn’t work in court!

2. Crows cawing to each other. The more the merrier (ironically they are called murders). Yes I know, it is a horrible screeching sound. That’s the point, they are communicating some important crow-related info, not just clucking or cooing. See my other list, and really, wouldn’t you rather hear this any day than bratty kids or jackhammers?

3. “We have a winner!” in any contest, even if it’s Bingo with old people. Yes I have beaten old people…at Bingo.

4. “Not guilty, by reason of awesomeness” (Jury deliberated for like 5 minutes and that included bathroom breaks). You might be thinking, wouldn’t it be better to be found guilty of being awesome? Well, that’s just crazy talk there. And going back to #1, that claim has never worked either.

5. Cicadas rustling in the trees. Bonus when they are in several different trees and each pick up where the other left off, like it is a competition. To me, it means the dog days of summer are here, but it is usually the morning when I hear them, still not too hot. A nice start.

6. “And the Yankees have defeated the Red Sux…I mean Sox…wait, I did mean Sux.”

Gotta love traditions.

7. The Star Wars fanfare. Even with the prequels, at least the movies START awesomely.

8. “Mr. Lucas is on the phone. He wants to know what color you want your fully fuctional lightsaber to be.” (note_2: blue or green)

9. The wind blowing and rustling leaves. As with cicadas in summer, this usually means early summer or the middle of fall. A bonus when it’s nice cool weather and I can hear/see the leaves fall and skitter along the ground/concrete.

10. Absolute silence. Sometimes that is the best thing to hear.

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A Drop in the Bucket

For many years, many blogs, journals, spaces, faces, etc. I have read about the bucket lists, paths to happiness, 365/365 (except leap years), 101’s 1001’s, 50 things in 2012,  Mo’s and other various projects. I’ve even taken part in them, and sometimes actually ‘win’ them. Usually not though. Especially not NaNoWriMo.  

This doesn’t build my cynicism towards them (one of the very short list of things that do not irritate me), nor will I mock any person’s attempt to achieve their goal, short or long-term. On the contrary, I am one of those ‘enablers’, who tells you to buy those shoes, that electronic device, that SuperBurger Deluxe with Cheese, because like that little voice, I know you want it. Yes you do. Go for it. You’re welcome! So the lesson for today is, don’t tell me what you want to do, unless you want to do it. Which you do. Yes you do.

We have goals. It’s the reason long-term memory was included in the evolution upgrade. Or maybe not. So we’re essentially obligated to have goals, like how we’re guilted into using Mail Merge on MSOffice because we paid so much for it, and wind up only using maybe five Word features, including bold and Lucida Calligraphy (for those special announcements).  In other words, by all means I should have a bucket full of goals and stuffs.

Ok! Win the lottery! *drop*. Into the ol’ bucket it goes.

Really, because after that, the possibilities are endless. Even things that I have no idea right now that I want to do, I will. I can now travel around the world, or not. I can get my book published, either by bribing the right people or just printing it up myself. I can even buy one of them printing presses and cut out the middle man. Mimeographing is yet another option, and that can guarantee sales, since everyone will buy a copy just to shove it in their face and inhale deeply, without a teacher yelling at them to stop fooling around pass the rest of the tests back.

I will not live this life as if it is a countdown, as though I have to ‘get things done’ before I die. I don’t care how good any person works under pressure, that’s too much. Let’s say I complete it all; then what? Should I have made a loooong list of things, half of which I can seriously accomplish? NO! That leads to the moment, 6 hours from now, or 60 years from now, my last thought would be – “I never got to finish that list or do…” Screw that. I would rather have a list that I build as I go along, as I LIVE, and experience, learn and prosper. My last thoughts would be all I HAVE done in life, the happiness, bittersweet and what has put me on the path to where I am.

What we strive for in life is in a way, futile. The world will turn after we are gone, and it will not remember our high scores, our trips, how good we are in the sack (unless the legends have already started; but still you know how they get changed over generations). We forget as we age, we fall short in our last years of our goals, so the pressure to do them now is always there. We have a life to live though, and should pay more attention to it, as without a job, or responsibilities, we wither and lose our desire for better, as it is pulled from our weak gravitational pull.

I see too much competition, even amongst those who are cohorts, colleagues, or following the same path. No matter how good we are, there is always something better to accomplish? So do we settle, or do we keep that goal, and be content? Should we strive to be rich? To take just one step on every continent in the world? To bang an A-list celebrity? To make yourself a great batch of chocolate chip pancakes with bacon and fresh maple syrup and not feel guilty? Whenever I have an urge for a filet mignon or t bone steak, I go to my favorite butcher shop and pick out a nice chop. I season it the way I want then broil it up, and enjoy. Nothing to it. Not a drop in the bucket; just me, satisfying my need, when I can, and more importantly, because I can.

ImagePlease note that my goal was not to finish it in one sitting. Mission accomplished!

You know what though? Go ahead. Make a bucket list. Get yourself an empty bucket, and fill it up. Not with the things you want to do though. Ah, no!. What you do it, fill it up with everything you have accomplished, everything that you have experienced and every moment that you have been thankful for those things having been part of your life. Yes even the sandwiches. Warren Zevon was right on the money.

I remember all of those honey/maple roasted turkey heros with American cheese lettuce and honey mustard on soft sub rolls that I used to make back in the day. They are not part of my life now, but the memories of that yummliciousness will stay with me always. *drop* In the bucket.

Ok I will admit, I do have goals. I once planned to read Les Miserables (full version), and I did it! Next is Don Quixote, and yes I have it in my bookshelf, a full version. So ok I will have read two of the most amazing books in history, but I will not take that knowledge, the love and amazement at the literacy wonderfulness that is reading, with me when I die. I will do it, regardless of that macabre thinking, for what it gives to me as I live each moment while I read the words and turn each page, then one day finally slapping it closed. Done.

*drop*

Don’t worry about what you will do with your life. Just enjoy it.

The only disappointment anyone could feel would be that accomplishing, finishing or experiencing anything on any level, is better than the idea that they were ALIVE when it happened, and what each moment brought with it.

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