Sometimes while baking muffins on a boiling hot Tuesday morning, I get all introspective. As I fold the peaches into the beautiful creamed brown sugar and butter I ponder what makes me tick. I think about why I love the feeling of the wooden spoon in my hand as I mix the wet and dry ingredients and dream up a new flavour combination. Even as I wash the dishes in the scalding water of the sink I enjoy the morning’s activity, throwing myself into the experience with all of my attention. MGMT plays in the background, electronically serenading my morning. While I wait for the muffins to do their thing in the 350 degree oven, inspiration strikes and intensifies in tandem with the increasingly gorgeous smell of peaches and ginger. Why, I think, don’t I write about things like this oh-so-simple joy of baking? Other things that make me feel like I’m smiling all the way down to my toes?
A favorite things post wouldn’t be complete without a “Sound of Music”-esque title. Though raindrops on roses do not figure into my favorite things… nor do whiskers on kittens (I’m really more of a dog person), it seemed appropriate to entitle such a post with a name hailing from a movie in which so many take comfort. So these are a few of my favorite things, in no particular order whatsoever, because my mind doesn’t always think in order. That’s just how it is.
1. Reading: I will read almost anything. I have, as I have mentioned, a particular affinity for historical fiction by the likes of Philippa Gregory. My love of words began at a very young age. I was an insomniac child whose thoughts loved to invade and conquer at all hours of the night. After months of irritating my parents, my mom suggested I tried to read until I wasn’t worried anymore and I felt ready to read. Unable to come up with a reason why not, I begrudgingly cracked open “The Little Princess” and never looked back. My tastes were for classics, in the beginning- I especially loved Louisa May Alcott and Jane Austin. Since then I’ve been enamoured of genres from fantasy (mainly Tamora Pierce novels, which I will admit I still re-read from time to time despite being years beyond the intended audience) to popular fiction. There’s a certain joy in seeing books I’ve loved lined up on my shelf, pages upon pages reflecting quiet moments in which I’ve lost myself time and time again. I’m always trading recommendations with friends and acquaintances, and I welcome any recommendations for favorites!
2. Music: I’ve also mentioned my adoration for music in previous posts. There was a time when I refused to so much as walk down the street without being plugged in to my headphones. I’ve since embraced silence as well, but I think this only makes my love of music grow. The feeling some songs evoke in me are intense- music can make me laugh, cry or dance in turn. I also love to sing. Some of my most treasured memories are set to a soundtrack in my mind, and hearing a song can twig memories in an instant.
3. Travel: OK, so maybe I don’t love the fact of getting into a car for a long drive or on a plane for a journey in the air, but experiencing a new place is blissful for me. The sights, sounds, and even smells of a place not my usual are so very exciting. I have to say that my favorite way to explore is just to walk around and take it all in. My best souveniers of my travels are my memories and my photographs- not that an “I heart NY” t-shirt is unwelcome, or anything…
4. Collecting quirky dishes and decorations: This one is a little uncommon, maybe, but I really do love it. The above dishes are all from Anthropologie, but I have other home decor items from everywhere from the store my mom used to own to tiny little chinese shops in downtown Ottawa. I sometimes joke that I’m 21 going on 31, and this funny little dish-collecting habit may prove that theory. Of course, I like it best when things don’t match, so perhaps that fact belies my youth. What can I say- I have a quirky sense of aesthetic!
5. Dancing: I’ve recently gotten back into dancing, and rediscovering my passion for dance has been so rewarding. I’ve danced ballet since I was 4 years old, and there’s something about the subtle expression that goes into the style that speaks to me. I’m not the most amazing ballerina, and since I’ve re-started with one class a week I’ve found that I’m so much easier on myself than I used to be. I’m at peace with the fact that my body is built a certain way, and that I can only do what it wants to allow me to do. I don’t pigeon-hole my love of dance to just ballet, however- I love everything from classical dance to busting a move in my kitchen while making dinner, to flinging myself around my backyard to a tune stuck in my head.
6. Yoga: I know, I know- I’ve waxed poetic about the joys of yoga repeatedly on this blog, but I really credit this amazing exploration of self for much of my self discovery over the past year. Inner calm has been a challenge to cultivate for me, and I attempt to bring metta (self-love and love for others) into my daily life, beyond the yoga mat. Unlike some of my other passions, I discovered yoga later on in my life. I wish it had always been a part of my life, but I know it will be in some way or other from here on in.
7. Baking and cooking: I used to bake and cook obsessively, and eat none of the products. As I’ve redefined my relationship with food, I’ve begun to enjoy not only the calming process of going through a recipe or creating one myself but the end result as well. There’s something about the process that makes me feel at peace, and I love to create something new from just a few ingredients. I’m thankful that in my recovery I’ve (mostly) eradicated fear foods and am now able to dive into recipes, butter and all.
Of course, there are many other things I love- my family, my friends, writing, summertime… the list goes on. This post is growing to astronomical lengths, however, as I think about all the joys in life- little joys, joys I may have overlooked when I was living my live with both eyes closed. As means of a closer, I’ll leave you with a look at the muffins that got me thinking in the first place this morning, and wish that you all had “smell-o-vision”, because the peachy-goodness in here is out of this world!
Have a peachy day! (haha.)