Posts Tagged ‘silliness’

I’m a longtime fan of Sesame Street, cookies and Christmas – so this montage of Cookie Monster attempting to ask Santa for cookies is just about perfect. (From Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, which my parents taped off TV about 20 years ago. We still have the creaky old VHS tape, complete with commercials, and we still watch the clips below, and Grover playing Santa, every year.)


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“I’d never get tired of red,” said the Story Girl. “I just love it—it’s so rich and glowing. When I’m dressed in red I always feel ever so much cleverer than in any other colour. Thoughts just crowd into my brain one after the other. Oh, you darling dress—you dear, sheeny, red-rosy, glistening, silky thing!”

She flung it over her shoulder and danced around the kitchen.

—L.M. Montgomery, The Golden Road

I ordered a copy of Red is Best for a friend recently, and tried to make Jeremiah guess whom it was for. (He hates guessing games, but usually goes along with mine.) “Whom do we know that loves red so much?” I asked. He stared at me and answered, “You!”

Ahem. Well, yes. I bought a red v-neck sweater this weekend, after searching for the perfect one for months. I’ve knitted seven red items (though four are gifts!) since mid-October. My long red wool coat has made its winter debut; I rock the red wellies whenever it rains; and my red Evangeline mitts are getting plenty of play on these cold days. Not to mention my red bathrobe, our red bath towels and dishes and couch slipcover, and all the other red things in our house.

Me in my "Valentine coat"

“You suit red,” my housemate Lizzie used to tell me – though she and other housemates have made fun of me for having enough red and pink laundry to merit its own load. But like Sara Stanley, above, I love red. I do feel cleverer in it – and, even if it’s not Christmas, I also feel festive and jazzy.

Do you have a color you never get tired of? (Any fellow red-lovers out there?)

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I’ve been reading Barbara Holland’s Endangered Pleasures, a wry, hilarious series of essays on topics as diverse as Naps, Disasters, Using People, Crowds and Bad Words. (I think I saw a link to it on Sarah’s blog, though for the life of me I can’t find the post containing said link.) Holland laments the disappearance of some pleasures (such as cigarettes) and ardently defends others (such as Spending the Summer). And always, always, she advocates for savoring all the pleasures you can.

Breakfast with tea and a beloved book - a pleasure indeed.

In my life, pleasures aren’t endangered so much as overlooked – I often forget to savor the daily ones, or make time for the bigger ones. So (of course) I thought I’d make a list. Please add yours in the comments!

1. Washing my face. There’s nothing more rejuvenating at the end of a long day.
2. That burst of juice when you peel and eat a clementine, and the way your hands smell like citrus afterward – no fancy lotion required.
3. The pure abundance and possibility of a stack of books waiting to be read.
4. Dark chocolate, in any form (most recently: a dark-chocolate-dipped pretzel from a local chocolatier).
5. Flipping through a magazine at my leisure.
6. Twinkle lights. All year long, but especially now.
7. Honey coating a sore throat.
8. Perfectly painted toenails (and the fact that they STAY that way so much longer than fingernails do).
9. Browsing Etsy.
10. Casting on for a new knitting project – oh, the possibilities!
11. The comfort of returning to a favorite book or movie.
12. Mail in the mailbox. (I’m always waiting for something wonderful to arrive.)
13. Fresh herbs – green, pungent, tasty, a little wild.
14. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the Muppets, in any form.
15. Sunshine, especially now when the days are so short.
16. Running down to the corner store for milk or tortilla chips or toilet paper – because it means I don’t have to drive anywhere.
17. Writing with a real (read: non-ballpoint) pen.
18. A whiff of salt air (which you can smell on our street when the wind is right).
19. Savoring my favorite long-form blogs: Good Letters and Art House America.
20. Spending unscheduled, unplugged time (or long phone talks, when the former isn’t possible) with dear ones.
21. The satisfaction of a little job done: the hole mended, the drain unclogged, the watch battery replaced.
22. Being prepared for the weather, e.g., wearing your rain boots when it actually rains.
23. A straightened slipcover (a rare thing in our house).

What’s on your list of overlooked pleasures?

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Like so many writers, travelers and lovers of city culture, I’m always on the hunt for the perfect coffee shop. (I know. I’m a walking cliche. But, in this case, a happily caffeinated one.)

There exists in my head a mirage of that perfect cafe – which bears a striking resemblance to the Ground Floor, the coffeehouse where I worked in college). The Ground Floor was my cafe, the first one I ever fell in love with and the only one I’ve worked in, so in some ways, since I left Midland (and since it closed), I’ve been searching for its counterpart everywhere else.

(Enjoying a peppermint hot cocoa, at Francesca’s in Boston’s South End)

My list of criteria for a perfect cafe is exacting, and includes:

  • mellow-with-a-touch-of-funky atmosphere
  • large selection of good-quality teas
  • delicious chai and hot chocolate (much as I love the coffeehouse culture, I’m not a coffee drinker)
  • yummy pastries, sandwiches and soups
  • cozy corners to write in (tables, couches or armchairs)
  • big windows with beautiful light (and a nice view)
  • the perfect balance between bustling and calm
  • friendly baristas
  • an easily accessible location

Recently, I’ve found myself whining, like Goldilocks, about the flaws of my favorite cafes in Boston. Thinking Cup has the perfect atmosphere and delicious sandwiches, but a sadly limited tea selection. Boston Common Coffee House serves a favorite tea brand, but has a depressing view (of scaffolding, currently, though it’s not their fault). Starbucks on Charles St. has lovely views, yummy chai and cozy little tables, but it’s Starbucks, which always makes me feel like I’m betraying my inner indie girl.

Farther afield, Athan’s has the best chocolate croissants, but their sandwiches are so-so. Francesca’s in the South End has wonderful drinks and lovely light, but I’m hardly ever in that area. (Ditto for Tealuxe and Crema in Harvard Square – though I ate dinner at Crema the other night.)

(Tomato soup, fresh foccaccia and iced rooibos tea at Crema)

And then I realized how ridiculous – how first-world-privileged and spoiled – I sounded, even to myself. Like Goldilocks, I have my choice of places to curl up (though I have it better than she did, because I get to drink tea and write and people-watch). And, though none of my cafes may be “perfect,” all of them – on certain days and in certain ways – are just right.

Ever find yourself complaining about something that’s actually a boon – or is it just me?

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1. Books to be read (and sometimes reviewed).
2. Knitting projects to start (especially this time of year).
3. The dishes (someday we’ll have a dishwasher!).
4. The laundry (though I don’t mind that so much).
5. Emails to answer and to write, to dear ones.
6. The clutter – in the closet, on the counters, on the coffee table.
7. The teas – because I’m always trying new kinds.
8. The recycling (and also the trash).
9. The canned goods and baking supplies, as the weather turns colder.
10. Recipes to try.
11. Tasks on the to-do list.
12. Places I want to visit.
13. People I miss.
14. Blankets on the bed, as winter approaches.
15. Ideas for projects of all kinds.

Some of these heaps are delightful, some onerous – but they’re all the stuff of my everyday life.

What piles up in your life?

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Because life can get altogether too serious sometimes, don’t you think? Here, a list of silly things that make me smile:

1. The Muppets. In pretty much any form – whether it’s YouTube videos, episodes of The Muppet Show or the Sesame Street Twitter feed.
2. Mutts – the comic strip following the adventures of Mooch the cat, his friend Earl the dog and their pals.
3. Sprinkles on my ice cream. (And the fact that Northeasterners call them “jimmies.”)
4. Polka dots. They’re just so happy.
5. The Aflac duck (who is also on Twitter).
6. Veggie Tales. (Clearly I’m easily entertained by kids’ shows.)
7. My husband. (Yes, he’s silly.)
8. Our friends. (Ditto.)
9. Puppies, wherever I encounter them.
10. Blog posts of utter hilarity, like this one from Joey. (Actually, this one made me hoot with laughter.)

What silly things make you smile?

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After a warm, almost sultry Labor Day weekend, this week has been chill, damp, rainy and generally miserable. I’ve come to work every day wearing my raincoat, leggings, a scarf, and my newest indispensable wet-weather accessory:

After going through two cheap Target pairs in three months, I splurged a bit and bought some Bogs. So far, I love them – because they’re sturdy, comfy, warm and RED. They’ve been a literal bright spot in a rather dreary week.

Happy Friday – we’re hoping for a sunnier weekend around here, and I wish you a lovely weekend, too.

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Because beginnings can be so, so good. These are the ones I remember best.

1. I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. (I Capture the Castle)
2. I met Charlotte in London one afternoon while waiting for a bus. Just look at that sentence! (The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets)
3. In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines / lived twelve little girls in two straight lines. (Madeline)
4. My life – my real life – started when a man walked into it, a handsome man in a well-cut suit, and yes, I know how that sounds. (Love Walked In)
5. It was a dark and stormy night. (A Wrinkle in Time)
6. Once upon a time, sixty years ago, a little girl lived in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, in a little gray house made of logs. (Little House in the Big Woods)
7. We are each the love of someone’s life. (The Confessions of Max Tivoli)

I often have trouble remembering first lines of books – it’s the odd, random phrases or scenes from the middle that stick in my mind. But I do love these.

What are your favorite first lines?

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On a recent Wednesday night, I ended up in a field west of Concord, watching a juggler toss pins into the air, munching on kettle corn, and marveling at a magician’s card tricks and a mime’s skill at making balloon animals.

No, I wasn’t at a carnival or a circus – not a normal circus, anyway. This was the pre-launch preview party for Erin Morgenstern’s debut novel, The Night Circus. Appropriately, it was held in a circus tent.

Several dozen bookish folks from all over New England – bloggers, booksellers, reviewers, a librarian or two, and lots of folks who tweet about books – had been invited to the event by the area Random House sales reps. (Lots of people came from Boston and Cambridge, of course, but there were people from Rhode Island and even upstate New York.) And it was so fun.

We munched on hors d’oeuvres (and later, a selection of decadent desserts) and watched the performers do their thing, and then listened to an audio clip of the book’s beginning (read by Jim Dale, now famous for the Harry Potter audiobooks). I stuck close to Dawn all night, since I didn’t really know anyone else, and since I felt a little out of the loop among all these folks who live and breathe books at their day jobs. (I live and breathe books too, but my day job mainly involves webpages and emails.)

My gorgeous ARC of The Night Circus (which Erin graciously signed for me) has been sitting on my coffee table ever since, tantalizing me (I had a few other books to finish before I picked it up). I’m planning to take my trip to the circus this week. I’ll let you know how it goes, and meanwhile: can you guess what animal our mime friend is bringing to life with these balloons?

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1. If the train is delayed/the line is long/I’m stranded somewhere, I have something to do.
2. I can block out annoying noises/situations if I’m immersed in a good story.
3. It makes me look smart.
4. It lets me get through more books each month – a page or two here and there does add up.
5. I can avoid staring awkwardly at people on the train. (Or anywhere else.)
6. Occasionally, it’s a conversation starter.
7. I feel naked without one. Seriously.

Do you carry a book everywhere you go? (If not, WHY NOT?)

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