These are a few of my favorite things

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Today was my last day as a teenager. I can’t believe it! My favorite part about the day before my birthday is that I get to spend the whole day saying ‘this is my last time eating breakfast as a 19 year old’ or ‘this is my last time going to class as a 19 year old’ or ‘this is my last time going for a run as a 19 year old’. You get the point. Well, I thought that since today is my last day as a 19 year old (wait, have I mentioned that already…?) I thought it would be cool to write out a list of my top 19 food and book memories from my lifetime. Hope you enjoy these memories as much as I do!

  1. Family dinners. I know that everyone has a hard time these days getting their families to sit down together for dinner because of jobs and sports and the TV and a million other reasons but I’m thankful that I’ve spent a majority of my dinners eating with my family.
  2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. This is one of my favorite books and one that I read a few times a year. It’s a book that gets at the heart of what everyone feels sometimes in life-loneliness, the beauty of finding friends, and how hard it is to grow up.  One of my favorite quotes from this book is: “Sam and Patrick looked at me. And I looked at them. And I think they knew. Not anything specific really. They just knew. And I think that’s all you can ever ask from a friend.”
  3. Thanksgivings in June. Crazy, right? Every year I looked forward to Thanksgiving dinner in June at my grandma’s house. We lived in Indonesia so we could never join family to celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas. So we had our meal just a couple months late (or a couple months early depending on how you look at it). If you’ve never eaten cranberry sauce in the middle of summer, I highly recommend it. Those meals were special to me.
  4. Let it snow. Tissues. In Alaska. In my living room. I can’t remember for sure, but I’m pretty sure it was a Ramona book that led me to corral my little brother (who is also my best friend and partner in crime) to gather up all of the Kleenex boxes in the house and proceed to throw all of the tissues all over our living room floor. What can I say- we wanted snow and we got it! (We also had to put the tissues in huge Ziploc bags, keep them in our rooms, and use them until they were gone…)
  5. Tea Plantation. I love tea! I think it’s something I inherited from my mom because she loves it too. And in Indonesia we got to visit a tea farm sometimes. We would walk around the plantation, the guide indicating which leaves were perfect for picking, peeling cinnamon bark off of trees for us to eat, and finally sitting us down at the end of the long walk to sweet, fresh cups of tea and little fried snacks.
  6. Red-eye flights. I mention this in my ‘about’ section on the blog , but one of my favorite memories of travelling was when my family took a trip to Hawaii when I was about eight years old. It was a red-eye flight and my parents told me and my brother we had to sleep on the flight so we could be ready for some fun on the beach when we got there. But Ramona books were just TOO good! So, being the bookworm-y child that I was, I hid under the airplane blanket and read by the light of my portable reading light the whole way there. Needless to say, the hermits weren’t the only crabs on the beach the next day.
  7. My mom’s oatmeal cake. There aren’t too many dishes I ask for when I get home from college or on special occasions, but this is one ofthem. My mom makes a mean oatmeal cake. And yes, it’s breakfast food! Cake, for breakfast? I’ll take it any day and all day! I’m not sure if it’s the perfect sponginess of the cake, the buttery, sugary, warm flavors, or the fact that my mom makes it herself, but it’s one of my favorites.
  8. Stacks of books in the summer. When I was younger, we spent a couple weeks at my grandparents’ house each summer. Those weeks involved massive portions of ice cream, fresh vegetable from the garden, and BOOKS! We’d take a trip to the library and I would pick up as many books as I could manage to stagger out with. And then I’d have the hardest time picking which one to start with when I got home. (I think by this point in the post, you should realize that I’m addicted to reading).
  9. Frosting. I know if I asked, you’d probably all say that you enjoy eating frosting. As do I, evidenced by the fact that I once ate one and a half Betty Crocker frosting containers in one sitting. Really?! Yes! It was one of my life goals when I was younger to eat a whole container (I know, really meaningful goal, right?) of Betty Crocker frosting so one time, while cooped up in a sketchy motel in Oklahoma for the night, my mom caved and bought my brother and I our own containers. I ate all of mine and half of his. Watching ‘The Wheel of Fortune’ has never been so funny.
  10. Speak by Lori Halse Anderson. I know I’ve already mentioned this book in another post, but it’s SO GOOD! Here’s a quick quote: “This looks like a tree, but it is an ordinary, everyday, boring tree. Breathe life into it. Make it bend-trees are flexible, so they don’t snap. Scar it, give it a twisted branch-perfect trees don’t exist. Nothing is perfect. Flaws are interesting. Be the tree.”
  11. Mango juice. And not just any mango juice-it’s gotta be the freshly squeezed, I-didn’t-throw-a-tantrum-while-golfing mango juice in Balikpapan, Indonesia. Let’s just say I was a liiittlleee competitive when I was younger. And by ‘little’ I mean ‘very’ and by ‘younger’ I mean ‘always have been and still am’.  The cure for a competitive kid? Mango juice. If I was a good sport, I got mango juice. Delicious, and it’s taught me some life lessons about sportsmanship.
  12. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. This book doesn’t have the best memory attached to it, but it’s one that I always think about. I stayed up in my closet one night after I did really poorly at a track race. I was so upset that day because I had worked hard for a year and had the worst performance of my life. I was so sad that a box of Sour Patch Kids and a Coke couldn’t even cure me. But The Secret Life of Bees managed to soothe me to sleep. Moral of the story? Books are often better than comfort food. Especially when you’re snuggled up in a blanket late at night absorbed in a great story.
  13. Ice cream champion. I LOVE ice cream. And I’ve eaten a lot of it in my lifetime. But the most I ate in one seating was during a cross-country-team-ice-cream-eating-competition (that’s a mouthful). I ate almost 2 half-gallons of ice cream in 45 minutes!  And I won the competition! I also rolled around on the floor for a while afterwards and shivered the rest of the night. It was worth it.
  14. Lawns by Mona Simpson. This isn’t a book, but it’s a short story. It’s incredible! I don’t know much more else to say about it besides the fact that it made me aim to write stories that someday might touch people as much as that one did me.
  15. Uncle Dan the Spaghetti Sauce Man. My uncle makes the best homemade spaghetti sauce I’ve ever tasted. Fresh tomatoes, chunks of beef, sausage, spices – the works. Even though I have no problem eating endless bowls of pasta on a normal basis, his sauce makes you wish you had a bowl of spaghetti as big as a car tire to eat out of. It’s that good.
  16. Old books. There’s something about the smell of an old book that’s enticing. The feel of them. The personal notes inscribed in the covers. My mom and I go antiquing sometimes and I can get stuck for hours in a booth if there’s a good selection of books. My mom will walk around the whole store and then come back to get me. Or try to get me. There’s something that I love about reading what good manners were in the 1800’s, about the perceptions of war shortly after WWI, about the health standards in the early 1900’s. I love that people used to be named names like ‘Dimple Marlin’ and that books were given out as prizes to the child in the schoolhouse who collected the most wood. Maybe I’m too sentimental, but I sure do love my old books.
  17. Crawfish. I love crawfish. They are a good reminder that parents usually know best. When my brother and I were little, we lived in Louisiana. Our parents took us to a crawfish festival and taught us how to crack and peel them. They also mentioned several times that we shouldn’t touch our eyes after touching the crawfish. Well, what do I decide to do? Touch my eye, of course. It hurt, but the crawfish were so delicious that I hardly noticed.
  18. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. No, this is not one of my favorite books. Not even close. In fact, it is one of maybe four books in my life that I haven’t finished. Why? Well, for starters, it’s got like a zillion pages (that’s only an approximation). But on top of that, I attempted to read this on a thirteen hour car ride. My dad recommended the book to me so I decided to try it. After it was all over, I suggest that no one tries reading Atlas Shrugged (or any heavy book for that matter) while careening down highways for thirteen hours with only country music on the radio, and two dogs and a brother in the backseat next to them.
  19. Piccomolo party tray. A party tray of gelato. Need I go on? My dad made special deals with my brother and me when we ran races in high school. For the big meets like Regionals and State, we would get to go out to eat somewhere special with my dad if we reached whatever goals we had set for ourselves that season. One year, I asked for a whole Piccomolo party tray (you know, maybe supposed to serve 10-15, but who really listens to serving sizes?) if I made it to State all by myself in the 3200m. My dad said yes, but never did I actually think I’d make it. Only 2 girls qualify from each region. Well that year, I shaved over 30 seconds off of my time and won Regionals. My dad and I went out to get the party tray together and more than being happy about the food, I’ve always appreciated how much my parents have supported my brother and me in everything that we do.

If you made it through that whole post, congratulations! I’m now off to get my last frozen yogurt treat as a 19 year old!

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4 responses »

  1. COMMENT COMMENT
    I commented and Eliza didn’t HazzahhH!

    I’m glad your first 19 years of life have been so wonderful!! I hope the next 19 are just as fun and exciting!!
    Your 20th year of like should start out well with your yummy cake :))))))

    HAPPY ALMOST BIRTHDAY :))))))))))))))))))))))

  2. This blog is superb… I totally connected with the 19 favorite things… minus the books. haha Happy birthday tomorrow!! Wish I could be there to celebrate with you.

  3. Jacqueline – I am so sorry that someone who claims to be such a supportive follower of your blog would bring such negativity to this precious space! (Nah nah nah nah nah Andrea!!).

    Anyway, I have loved spending this past year with you and celebrating YOU!

    Love,
    Eliza

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