I’ve been inspired by a fellow blogger to start a Friday Favorites post. I have a lot of favorite things; so many, in fact, that one might just call them “things.” In the interest of space and my dear reader’s attention span, I’ll randomly pick five to focus on today. Without further adieu, a look into my “things.”
When I was in college, a classmate mocked me for reading People magazine. How, she asked, could I possibly care about what celebrities did with their time? How could that be worth spending money? I explained to her my secret: It’s not about the celebrities. I’m nosy. Ridiculously nosy. I just want to know about people. What they eat, where they shop, what they say, how they spend their time. I told her that if they made a version of People magazine about my next-door neighbor, I’d still read it. AND THEN THEY DID. It’s called Facebook. It might be the greatest invention ever. Now I can spend all of my free time being incredibly nosy, and it’s not weird! Life-changing. Rest assured, if I am your friend on Facebook, I read everything of yours that shows up in my News Feed. I’ve definitely looked through your profile photos at least once, and I might have even bookmarked your wedding album. Too far? I hope not.
2. TV Show
I’ve mentioned it before, but this is MY SHOW. TV was an easy category to narrow down, because I don’t watch much TV. Not in a sanctimonious way; I have plenty of other things about which to be sanctimonious (such as my impeccable sentence structure, but I digress). I grew up with two brothers and a mom who worked nights. That meant I was outvoted three-to-one on every television decision ever. As much as I enjoy watching baseball, football, and professional wrestling…. well, I have better things to do with my time. When I finally moved into my own place, I got a job working nights. This was back in the Dark Ages, and while TiVo had been invented, it certainly wasn’t standard for college kids. Speaking of college, I had to move back in with my parents to afford it, and continue working nights. By the time I left my waitressing career to moonlight as a teacher, I had missed nearly a decade of cultural references. I got anxiety thinking about trying to catch up, so I just didn’t. It’s liberating. When people allude to anything television related, I just say “I don’t watch TV.” Now, this isn’t entirely true, and every once in a while something will strike my fancy. I watched a lot of Friends. I had a brief love affair with Glee. I dabbled in SYTYCD. But my one true love is Grey’s Anatomy. I can’t tell you what drew me to it – likely Patrick Dempsey’s swooshy hair, or Meredith Grey’s penchant for walking directly into the path of death and despair with no regard for common sense. In any case, I’ve watched every episode at least once, most of them twice. Even during the Denny days. Now THAT is dedication.
Asking me to choose a favorite author is like asking a drug addict to choose his favorite dealer – it’s whoever is filling the need at the time, you know? To that end, I will offer a few authors I’ve loved at different times in my life. In middle school, I was obsessed with other people’s pain and suffering, and so I really enjoyed Doris Lund, who penned Eric. If I was a middle schooler now, I would turn to Jodi Picoult (and I often do). My Sister’s Keeper is a must read. Piers Anthony helped me branch out into the world of fantasy and sort-of-science-fiction; a good starting point is A Spell for Chameleon (Xanth, Book 1). Proceed with caution; some of his books are not approved for all audiences, if you catch my drift. In high school, I wanted to be new and different and so I decided that instead of the complete works of Harry Potter I would delve into the complete works of Vladimir Nabokov. Lolita changes how you look at relationships, as do all of Nabokov’s works. These days I am far less academic, and the real world takes so much out of me that I like to retreat into the simple. My go-tos are Nora Roberts, John Grisham, Maeve Binchy, Marian Keyes, Elin Hilderbrand – books you get at Target, read once, and pass on. I’ve made peace with this.
Before you judge me — okay, fine, AS you’re judging me — I’d like you to imagine the following. You are a thirteen year old girl who is obsessed with United States History. You’ve just learned about industrialization. You are flipping through channels and you happen upon a Disney musical, featuring an almost entirely male cast. It stars a young Christian Bale. He is SINGING. He is DANCING. He is CHANGING THE FUTURE FOR CHILD LABORERS. I mean, what more could you truly want from a film? In this context, surely you will understand why I had to save up my babysitting money to special order the VHS from my local Blockbuster, and then watch it over and over and over again. REWINDING IT EACH TIME. That was dedication. Sure, there are better movies. But no movie brings me back into my childhood with a more delightful soundtrack.
I am Italian. I cannot choose a favorite food. I can, however, choose a favorite food experience, and that is a no-brainer. On our honeymoon, my husband and I were lucky enough to stay with relatives in Treppo Carnico, a small mountain town in the province of Udine. My grandmother’s cousin owns and operates a twelve-room hotel, Albergo Cristofolini, that is known far and wide for its flawless cuisine. This is the home of the original locavores; clean eating before Tosca Rena made it big. It’s a Michael Pollan dream world. All of the ingredients come from the town; you can wave hello to the cow whose milk is in your cappuccino. The meat is superb. The cheese is other worldly. Each and every dish is an entire experience, accompanied by homemade mountain wine and followed up with grappa. So much grappa. This food changes lives. Don’t believe me? It’s the reason this is one of the last pictures taken of my husband and I as a couple instead of a family foursome. There’s a reason our boys have Italian middle names. Life. Changing. Food. (And wine.)
Since I’ve openly admitted to being nosy, tell me about some of your favorite things!
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