During a recent library trip, I found blogger Neil Pasricha’s The Book of Awesome: Snow Days, Bakery Air, Finding Money in Your Pocket, and Other Simple, Brilliant Things. I was in the mood for some light reading to mix with my Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, so I picked it up. (I never got around to reading The Lord of The Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia when I was a kid. Don’t judge me.) I found myself nodding along, saying, “Oh yeah, I totally get that,” on just about every page.
In the spirit of that slice of life, I humbly submit my own List of Awesome Things.
- Reading kids’ books as an adult, either revisiting old favorites or reading something you never got to.
- Having a cat, dog, or kid sleeping on you. Even with claws, shed hair, and the possibility of ear-shattering howls, there’s nothing that rivals that absolute trust. Having both Medium Fry and Small Fry sleeping in my arms at only a few weeks old ranks among the happiest moments of my adult life. Both my cats like to sleep on me, and they tend to divide and conquer; Big Trouble stretches across my lap or down my legs, while Little Trouble perches on my chest.
- Coming inside after being out in the cold. Whether you were working or playing, it feels good to shed the extra layers, curl up in a blanket, maybe drink something hot.
- Hilarious Facebook updates. One of my closest friends is a military wife transplanted from the South and currently living in the upper reaches of the Midwest. Our mutual best friend and I have told her several times she needs to write a book, because her accounts of her Lego-stealing cat and her kindergarten-age daughter mishearing “pregnant” as “pagan” are too funny not to share with the English-literate world.
- Watching Facebook friends who don’t know each other get into a conversation. It’s interesting to see how my cousins, my sorority sisters, my high school classmates, and my pastor all respond to the same post and to each other.
- Being able to wear sneakers to work, instead of just for the commute to and from work.
- Homemade macaroni and cheese. I think I was in college before I tried it, because my Mom a. is allergic to milk and cheese, and b. worked night shift and was more interested in actually eating a meal with her husband and kids than in making said meal Food Network material. Ergo, when we ate macaroni and cheese, it came from blue, black and white, or (rarely) red boxes.
- The smell of pizza baking. Even if it’s really crummy, greasy pizza, it smells so good.
- Popcorn popped on the stove.
- Getting a recipe right after you’ve made it several times. I still remember the first time I made a really good peanut sauce for a stir-fry. I’d struggled with it for more than a year before I finally made it the right consistency and flavor.
- Watching a cheesy B-movie with friends and doing your own “Mystery Science Theater 3000” commentary.
- Inside jokes and pop culture references. Renaissance Guy once made his future wife and me crack up during church by saying, “I think he said, ‘Blessed are the cheesemakers,’ ” (from “Monty Python’s Life of Brian,” in case you were wondering) sotto voce, in a perfect Cockney accent, during The Sermon on the Mount. My parents’ parish priest must have thought we were completely nuts.
- Listening to elderly people talk about old times. Bonus: listening to several elderly siblings, siblings-in-law, or friends share their memories of the same place, person, or event.
- Finding your perfect karaoke song: you know all the lyrics, it’s in your vocal range, and you can actually sing it passably well.
- Bread and cheese, preferably fresh, crusty bread and sharp cheese. If there’s butter involved, so much the better.
- Big, sturdy umbrellas on a rainy day.
- The conversations you have in the car on the way home or in the kitchen cleaning up.
- Laughing till your face hurts.
- Really cold water on a really hot day.
Neil blogs at 1000awesomethings.com. Check him out.