Posts Tagged With: favorites

My Favorite Thing of the Month

Cleaning up after making bread the other day, I pulled out my cleaning spray for a final once over of the counters. As I spritzed and wiped I felt a sense of satisfaction at a task already tidied. I also felt, oddly, that all was right with the world. Funny how such basic chores as mixing, kneading, cleaning and straightening, can instill a sense of wellness.

Part of the cleanup process I’ve adopted recently involves a gift I received from a friend at Christmas. Every year, instead of delivering dozens of plates of home-baked goodies to her friends, she gifts a favorite find from the past year. Once it was a wonderful spice she had discovered, another time a cool grout cleaning tool. This year it was a cleaning product she adored.

I was a bit taken aback by the scent it claimed to carry.

Radish.

Yes, radish.

Who would have thought something like this could bring such delight into my day?

Who would have thought something like this could bring such delight into my day?

I had the same reaction as you. Seriously? I didn’t even think radishes had a smell, only a biting crunch and tang. I tucked the bottle under my sink, and honestly, kind of forgot about it. It wasn’t until sometime in February, while cleaning under the kitchen sink that I thought of that gift. What an ingrate I was.

I looked at it and wondered what some cleaning company thought radish smelled like. So I turned the knob on the sprayer and pulled the trigger, letting a fine mist of the stuff settle into my sink.

Not bad. Not necessarily radishy, but still a nice, clean scent. I left the bottle on the counter and finished organizing under the sink. That task out of the way I moved on to the rest of the kitchen.

I spritzed the countertops and wiped them clean. Then I moved on to the table.

Nice.

I liked the clean smell. And, bonus! It cleaned really well!

Anything smelled better than bleach or orange oil or ammonia or lemon. I sound kind of snooty don’t I?

Don’t get me wrong. I used to love the smell of bleach after a good cleaning of the bathroom, or a thorough scrubbing of the kitchen sink.

I loved it until it became a paying job.

Yup. I cleaned houses for a living a decade or so ago. I cleaned vacant model homes and I cleaned regular lived-in houses. Both required hard work that took its toll on me. Grateful for the work and the fairly decent pay, I kept at it for several years.

I fell into bed most nights thoroughly spent and certain I had earned every penny. Unfortunately, the smell of bleach haunted my dreams, as did the scent of orange oil and lemon oil, ammonia  and dust.

After several years I eased myself out of that profession and into real estate appraisal, which I thought would pay off big time. Can you say “housing bubble?” The joke was on me.

Sigh.

Looks like I just made a short story very long. I only meant to explain why I love my new radish scented cleaner.

It smells clean, not soapy, not bleachy, not orangey, not lemony.  Now when I clean, I only smell happy memories of my own tidy home, not hundreds of other homes.

For that I thank my sweet friend, Susan.

As my bottle ran low I asked for her secret supplier of this decadent cleaner. She told me it was on sale that week at, of all places, Target! And that it also comes in basil scent. I’m easily amused and just as easily satisfied with simple pleasures. I guess that’s a good thing.

 

 

 

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Categories: Fun, Gratitude | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Best Books Ever, At Least for This Week

Someone asked me for a list of my favorite books. Or maybe it was, “If you were stranded on a desert island with only three books…” I don’t know. They demanded a quick answer and I had none.

Happy Children Playing Kids

(Photo credit: epSos.de)

May as well ask a mother to pick a favorite child.

Apparently, I’m just a fraud, masquerading as a literary aficionado.

And yet if someone knew nothing else about me they’d need to know that I. Love. Books.

When we pack up to move, the book boxes outnumber the kitchen boxes. Surely I have a shelf of favorites. Actually, I have categories of favorites. And not just genres. Books are favorite reads because of character development, or amazing descriptive writing, or a compelling storyline. Books are favorites because I recognized myself and my quirks in a particular character, or because the writing felt familiar and comfortable. Favorites find their way into my heart through no reasoning whatsoever. Some are such masterworks of genius I read them just to remind myself that such art and perfection exists.

My yearly goal is to read twenty-five books. (That’s two a month plus one for we math illiterates.) That’s been going on for upwards of thirty years. And some years I read much more than that. Being conservative, that’s 750 books I’ve read as an adult. As a kid and a teen I read like most people breath and I didn’t keep track of them. A book a day during the summer, perhaps? Given that impossible to estimate number, lets round it up to a thousand books I’ve read. Narrowing that down to ten favorites seems impossible.

Just as a sort of point of honor, I read all of these before they became movies, or musicals, or whatever else they’ve morphed into.

Yet, in the spirit of answering last night’s book club question, here is a list of a few of my favorite books, in no particular order. (If they have a star, it’d be in my “deserted island” backpack.)

  • To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee*
  • The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield
  • Les Miserables – Victor Hugo*
  • The Book Thief  -Markus Zusak* (Surprising narrator)
  • Last of the Mohicans – James Fenimore Cooper*
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife  – Audrey Niffenegger
  • Charlotte’s Web – E. B. White
  • The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon (The best first lines of a novel ever!)
  • Out of Africa – Isak Dinesen*
  • Ender’s Game  – Orson Scott Card
  • Matilda – Roald Dahl*
  • The Whistling Season – Ivan Doig* (Stunning!)
  • The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck (Yup Mr. Beck, your favorite author made the list, aren’t you a proud teacher!)
  • Ella Minnow Pea – Mark Dunn
  • Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson
  • A River Runs Through It – Norman McLean* (Better than a hike in the woods)
  • A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens*
  • Banner in the Sky – James Ramsey Ullman
  • A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving
  • Life of Pi – Yann Martel
  • Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
  • Caleb’s Crossing – Geraldine Brooks
  • The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Talk Before Sleep – Elizabeth Berg (Beautifully heartbreaking)
  • Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis
  • A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
  • Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe – Fannie Flagg (Towanda!)
library shelves

(Photo credit: jvoss)

I feel like I’ve left hundreds of my beloved children behind. I also realize after reviewing my list that it’s all fiction. I do read non-fiction, they just don’t fall into my favorites lists apparently.

Simply reading the synopsis of each book will entertain you, I’m certain of it. Pick one or two that you haven’t ever read then get back to me about what you thought. I’d love a dialogue like that.

I ramped up my reading goal this year to thirty-six books. That seems reasonable. Three great reads a month. Okay, maybe they won’t all be great. But the more I read, I figure, the more likely I’ll find some real gems to cherish. I’ve read eighteen so far, so given that it’s the beginning of July, I’m right on track.

If you have a favorite you think I need to read or you don’t see here, I’d love to know about it. Please leave a comment so I can enjoy  and share the treasures you’ve found among the world of reading.

I’m always looking for another favorite.

Categories: Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Words Find Us

Been doing a brief bit of traveling this past week. So naturally my camera snapped some moments. Or at least it tried to.

Photos don’t grab the nuance in the breeze as you eat on a balcony with Pike’s Peak behind you. Photos can’t record the pride a parent feels. Photos miss the exchange of love and light in a look between two people.

Strangely, the word photos I took seemed to speak volumes about all the good stuff going on.

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Categories: Love, The World, Wondering | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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