Ways of Celebrating – TGBOL 3.3

cheers bottles sunset

Unsplash @ pixabay.com

Thanks to La duchesse d’Erat for another The Great Book of Lists challenge:

The second prompt of the week is inspired by my recent experience with having to write an exam and just wanting to dance on tables after learning I passed. it got me thinking. What are the ways we generally celebrate ? Dancing on tables isn’t one of my usual.

Ways of Celebrating – TGBOL 3.3

1. Tell my husband: No matter what I’m celebrating, something minor or something major, my husband is the first person I want to tell. He’s been with me through all the ups and downs of life, and I couldn’t ask for a better person to celebrate with.

2. A toast: I’ve made plenty of really bad toasts in my lifetime, but there’s something about holding aloft a glass or bottle and sending that hearty “cheers” out into the universe as thanks for my good fortune. By the way, I wrote a series of pieces that all mentioned Maker’s Mark (I hadn’t actually drank it but loved the design of the bottle). My husband bought me a bottle, so now, when I have something writing related to celebrate, we have a shot of the Maker’s Mark. I hate the taste, but it’s become a celebratory ritual now!

3. Dinner out—or in: Since I’m usually the person cooking in my household, my way of celebrating is to let someone else do the cooking. We either head out to a restaurant or bring home something special.

4. Kitchen dance party: My kids and I have been known to crank up the music and dance around the kitchen when we’re celebrating—or even when we’ve survived Monday!

5. Chocolate: I’m not a flower person. If I’m celebrating, people who know me well bring me chocolates!

How do you celebrate the big and small moments of life? 

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Acts of Love – TGBOL 3.2

hearts window love

AndreasWeitz @ Pixabay.com

Thanks to La duchesse d’Erat for another The Great Book of Lists challenge:

…Acts of love, is inspired by a video famous french You Tuber Enjoy Phoenix posted last week after the terrible bombings in Bruxelles last week. I thought she had a point. When things go sour, awful, we turn to our loved ones, crawl in their warm embrace and let them try to calm our heartbeat. There’s hardly a better time to show them we care. So here is the first prompt of the week : how do you show your loved ones you care ? What are the little gestures, the surprises, the words that carry your appreciation ?

Acts of Love: TGBOL 3.2

1. Thank you notes: I know I’m one of the few people who still does this, but I think there’s something special about getting something other than bills in the mailbox. A thank you note can go a long way to reminding someone how appreciated they are.

2. Lunchbox notes: I like to surprise my sons with little lunchbox notes, usually written on their napkins. Sometimes they don’t even mention they’ve seen my notes, but one of my sons brought his napkin home and kept it in his room, so I know it was important to him. Someday soon, my two little ones will be embarrassed by their mom’s affection, but I’ll probably still write those lunchbox notes!

3. Cooking for people: One of my favorite spice shops, Penzey’s, has this motto: “Love to Cook. Cook to love.” I couldn’t put it better myself! I love getting the opportunity to cook for people. Planning out what will please them is like my gift to them.

4. Noticing details: This may sound vague, but I pay attention to what people like, whether that’s songs or favorite coffee or something else. Then, later, I show that I paid attention to what was important to them. I find this attention to detail is always appreciated.

I challenge you to take a moment today to show your love for someone around you. Life is too short and unpredictable to wait until tomorrow!

A Party of Choice – TGBOL 3.1

Dinner Party Collage

Thanks to La duchesse d’Erat for The Great Book of Lists challenge and to Mandibelle16 for this week’s prompt:

« I was thinking we could do a list of the people we’d like to meet throughout history. Anyone dead or alive. Relative, movie star, singer, etc. »

Who I’d Invite to My Dinner Party – The Great Book of Lists 3.1

  1. Charles Dickens: My favorite writer
  2. My grandparents: I’ve lost all of my grandparents now, but I’d love the chance to share a meal with them again. I feel like some of them died before I got a chance to appreciate their wisdom.
  3. William Shakespeare: I have a *lot* of questions for this man!
  4. Jesus Christ: Again, so many questions I’d like to ask.
  5. Barack and Michelle Obama: I find both of these people to be passionate and thoughtful.
  6. Oprah Winfrey: She’s met everyone, so I’m sure she has some great stories to tell!.
  7. Richard Branson: The guy is crazy brilliant and so passionate.

Who would you invite to your dinner table if you had the chance? 

Your Favorite Dishes – TGBOL 3.0

I hope you’re not hungry!

What follows is my newest chapter in The Great Book of Lists. Thank you to La duchesse d’Erat for this excellent challenge. Here are the instructions for anyone interested:

  • Every Monday, I will propose a theme and you will have until Sunday night to publish your ticket, including the hashtag #TGBOL and a ping back (link) to the post announcing the topic which you are participating.
  • I will publish a summary of holdings with a new theme on Monday.
  • The comments section will allow you to say on what topics you want to write or to do lists.
  • Do not forget to subscribe to the blog so as not to miss the ads Monday.

The Great Book of Lists 3.0: Your Favorite Dishes

So this week is about food, but not any kind of food. We’ll be focusing on the food you enjoy cooking the most. Be it a gourmet dish, a simple fruit salade or a pizza, nothing’s too fancy nor too simple to enter our lists, as long as it brings joy. You can even share a recipe if you like 🙂

I could go on for days about food, but I’ll try to keep this list relatively short! I often say I like to travel through food, so most of my food choices here are associated with places or memories of people.

  • Grandma Parker’s Spaghetti Sauce – “Grandma” Parker wasn’t my grandmother, but she and her kids babysat me when I was young. I was just one of the family, and there was nothing better than a big family dinner of spaghetti with her homemade sauce. If we were really lucky, we had it in lasagna or over handmade ravioli. No, I’m not including the recipe here, but it’s a staple in my household.

    spaghetti

    Photo from joshumed@pixabay

  • Grandma Spiekerman’s glazed yeast donuts – Grandma made everything from scratch, and her donuts and buttermilk pancakes were legendary. I have her dough recipe, but they just aren’t the same without Grandma by the fryer.
  • Dough Balls – Where I grew up, it was the routine to go out to Capri for dough balls after every Friday night sporting event. Dough balls were just fried pizza dough, but that restaurant had the technique down perfectly (Capri has since closed, so I’m including a picture from a rival local restaurant, Brentwood). I’ve tried to make them at home, but they never turn out as well:

    Dough Balls

    Visit Brentwood for your own dough balls! http://www.thumbtourism.org/busdetail.php?id=0000000214

  • Nutella Crepes – When I was 16, I went to France for the first time with a group of classmates. We took a TON of junk food with us because we were afraid we’d hate the food there. Once we found the street vendors making fresh crepes, however, that junk food was forgotten. My favorites were the crepes filled with Nutella and coconut or bananas or strawberries. I make them at home, but they’re just not the same as those ones on the Paris streets:

  • Blond Bombshell Bagel: I went to grad school at Miami University of Ohio in Oxford, Ohio. While there, I discovered this little hole in the wall bagel shop called Bagel & Deli that has no comparison. The menu is huge and diverse, and all the bagels are described on signs hanging on the walls—many of which were named for former students. My favorite at the restaurant and to recreate at home, the Blond Bombshell, piled turkey, swiss, and veggie cream cheese on a toasted sun-dried tomato bagel (although you couldn’t go wrong with anything on their menu).
  • Austin’s American Grill Pork Tenderloin: After graduate school, I moved to Colorado. While there, I took my then-boyfriend-now-husband out for a birthday dinner at a place neither of us had been: Austin’s American Grill. The menu was rather short, and it had none of my usual faves. I ended up ordering a pork tenderloin dish that sounded decent. My husband still talks about the look on my face after I put the first bite of that tenderloin into my mouth: pure food ecstasy! I’ve tried to replicate the meal, and although my version is decent, it’s nowhere as good as the original.
  • Indian Food: When I lived in Colorado, my husband dragged me to an Indian restaurant. I was skeptical from the moment the server put little bowls of green and brown stuff on the table (mint and tamarind chutney, I know now). With trepidation, I took the first bite—and was hooked! To this day, I will drive far out of my way for a good Indian restaurant, especially if I hear they’ve got chicken korma or tikka masala. In a pinch, I try recreating my favorites at home.

 

  • Italian Arancini – I can’t remember precisely where I had my first arancini, also known as a risotto ball or rice ball. I’m going to credit Cinzetti’s in Denver, CO. Wherever it was, I fell in love with these little deep-fried delights and now make them at home:

  • Penne with Roasted Asparagus and Balsamic Butter – I live in an area of Michigan known for its asparagus production. We spend most of the spring inhaling asparagus in every way imaginable. This is my favorite recipe to cook when the asparagus harvest begins:

  • Ziti with Portobello Mushrooms, Carmelized Onions, and Goat Cheese – I’m not a vegetarian, but I often eat like one. With dishes like this one, I could be happy for life:

I’m starving now! How about you? What would you include on your list of favorite meals?

The Soundtrack of Your Life: TGBOL 2.3

What follows is my newest chapter in The Great Book of Lists. Thank you to La duchesse d’Erat for this excellent challenge.

This week, we are going to dip into a dimension we haven’t written about yet : music !
But we’re not going to write about any music. We’re going to write about the music themes and songs that are engraved in our dearest memories that can evoke a memory faster than anything else, or make you feel good and giddy. What music is so intertwined with your life and personality that you can play it in your head without actually hearing it? What musical pieces remind you of a particular time in your life like it was yesterday?

The Great Book of Lists 2.3: The Soundtrack of My Life

This has been my favorite list to create so far. I could have added at least another fifty songs, but I tried to really think about the music I’d choose as the soundtrack to a slideshow of my life.

1. Kenny Rogers “The Gambler”
When I was young, a restaurant near my house had jukeboxes at every table. I begged my parents for quarters so I could sing this song at the top of my lungs. (And yes, I can still sing every word of it!)

2. Simon & Garfunkel
I grew up listening to Simon and Garfunkel songs with my parents, and I continue to be a fan. I couldn’t choose just one song, so this is a medley of hits.


3. Survivor “Eye of the Tiger”
My high school mascot was the tiger, so this song was played at EVERY event during those years.


4. Roxette “She’s Got the Look”
This became my rock climbing song. I’d get nervous before climbing, but hearing this put those nerves to rest. I don’t climb as much as I used to these days, but this song gives me that confidence boost when I need it.


5. Harry Connick Jr. “Wink & a Smile”
This is the first song my husband and I danced to at our wedding reception. It’s from the soundtrack of one of my favorite movies, Sleepless in Seattle.


6. Dido “Thank You”
This is “our song,” the one that I always think of when my husband comes to mind.


7. Jason Aldean “Big Green Tractor”
This song reminds me of my sons. They were both tractor fans when they were young and sang this song with little-boy gusto!


8. “The Gummy Bear Song”
Admittedly, this is one of the most annoying songs I’ve ever heard, but my son loves it. I can’t hear it without smiling—and then plugging my ears!

 

Your turn! What songs would you choose for the soundtrack of your life? Join us in the Great Book of Lists challenge and share your music memories! 

Words That Matter: Great Book of Lists 2.2

This has been a crazy-busy week, so I’m doing a bit of multitasking in this post. What follows is my newest chapter in The Great Book of Lists. Thank you to La duchesse d’Erat for this excellent challenge. Here are the instructions for anyone interested:

  • Every Monday, I will propose a theme and you will have until Sunday night to publish your ticket, including the hashtag #TGBOL and a ping back (link) to the post announcing the topic which you are participating.
  • I will publish a summary of holdings with a new theme on Monday.
  • The comments section will allow you to say on what topics you want to write or to do lists.
  • Do not forget to subscribe to the blog so as not to miss the ads Monday.
In addition, this list is also in response to the Three Quotation Challenge. Thanks Jade M. Wong for including me. (Please forgive me for combining my three quotes in one day and skipping the tagging people part. The way this week has gone, I’m just glad to get to participate at all).

Okay, so here’s this week’s prompt and my response:

The Great Book of Lists 2.2: Words That Matter

Words, as simple as they may seem, possess power. Once spoken, you cannot take them back. Once said, it’ll be either white or black.
 
So today, let’s make a list of those words that has pushed you forward, to do good, to be glad. Words that kept you standing. Words that encouraged you to keep moving. Words that picked you up. Words that lit you up. Words that introduced you to an unknown world. Words that explained you the meaning of life, even beyond earth.
 
Those words deserve to be shared, so let’s share them today.

1. If you’ve read my “What I’m About” page or taken a look around my site, you’ll see I’m a big fan of where I live. I’ve moved around the country and traveled the world, and there’s really no place like home.
If you're lucky enough to live in Michigan, you're lucky enough.

2. One of the most famous shipwrecks in the Great Lakes was memorialized in the song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot. I’ve grown up singing that song, and I can’t help but think of these lines whenever I stand on the shore of Lake Superior.
Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours?

3. I’ve always loved the Robert Hayden poem “Those Winter Sundays” because it reminds me of my dad and because of the simple yet evocative descriptions of cold mornings. I’ve included just the first stanza here.
Those Winter Sundays

4. This is my favorite love poem. I’m not particularly mushy, but something about Brook’s lines “His hand to take your hand is overmuch” and “…you are free with a ghastly freedom” have resonated with me from the first time I read this piece.
To Be In Love poem

5. This is kind of a sad poem, emphasizing the idea that our pain is our own and that life goes on even when we are in the midst of tragedy, but I love the way Auden uses Brueghel paintings–especially Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, which hangs in my office–to remind us that life isn’t all about us.
Musee des Beaux Art

6. Although all of these words above have mattered to me at some point in my life, the words that matter most are the ones below, written by my son:
I love you mom
Okay, your turn! What words have mattered to you in a significant way? 

Favorite On-Screen Kisses: The Great Book of Lists 2.1

mouths lips

Mouths-lips-people-sensual-close-690957 by UNSPLASH @ pixabay.com

This post is my newest chapter in The Great Book of Lists. Thank you to La duchesse d’Erat for this excellent challenge. Here are the instructions for anyone interested:

  • Every Monday, I will propose a theme and you will have until Sunday night to publish your ticket, including the hashtag #TGBOL and a ping back (link) to the post announcing the topic which you are participating.
  • I will publish a summary of holdings with a new theme on Monday.
  • The comments section will allow you to say on what topics you want to write or to do lists.
  • Do not forget to subscribe to the blog so as not to miss the ads Monday.

The Great Book of Lists 2.1: Favorite Onscreen Kisses
This week I invite you to list your favorite filmed kissing, whether on TV or in the movies. What did you kiss swoon, sigh, howl like a wolf or just cheer? Have you ever had the pleasure of seeing two of your favorite characters finally find love? OR he is-a kisses that you would see on the screen?Share your favorite kisses filmed list so that we can all get our daily dose of romance.

So, in no particular order, in honor of Valentine’s Day, my ten favorite on-screen kisses:

  1. Dirty Dancing: A little dancing… a little kissing… what could be better?

2. P.S. I Love You: The best opening scene in a romantic comedy, ending in a great kiss

3. Leap Year: Who could pass up a kissing challenge?

4. Twilight: Okay, these movies are a bit crazy, but there are some great kisses so a montage seems in order.

5. Bridget Jones’ Diary: Kissing in the cold…on the street…in her underwear & tennis shoes?!

6. “Friends” (Ross & Rachel’s First Kiss): They share many kisses, but this is the one I remember most.

7. An Affair to Remember: This is such a classic moment–the realization & then the kiss

8. “The Vampire Diaries” (Damon & Elena): Admittedly, I love Damon!

9. Breakfast at Tiffany’s: This is another classic–a cat and a kiss in the rain!

10. Notting Hill: I love Hugh Grant’s bumbling in this movie–and in this sweet kiss.

Dream Trips: Great Book of Lists 2.0

Okay, I have to admit that I’m giddy with excitement this morning! In my random wanderings of the blogosphere , I found something that totally speaks to me: The Great Book of Lists. (Thanks go to A Reading Writer for leading me to this find!)

I know, I know… You’re thinking, “Why would this make anyone giddy with excitement?”

I am an obsessive list maker. I suppose that makes me a control freak, but lists help me manage my world—they give order and structure. There’s nothing like checking something off a to-do list to give me a sense of accomplishment. When things are in a list, they can be addressed (then probably moved to another list!).

Anyway, I’m apparently not the only person who loves lists because there’s an entire list-making challenge at the blog of La duchesse d’Erat, and I’m totally in. I’m starting a month behind, but I can’t pass this up! Thank you, La duchesse d’Erat, thank you! Here are the instructions for anyone interested (translated into English—thank you Google!), and my first list follows. I’ve decided to keep my lists to ten items each.

  • Every Monday, I will propose a theme and you will have until Sunday night to publish your ticket, including the hashtag #TGBOL and a ping back (link) to the post announcing the topic which you are participating.
  • I will publish a summary of holdings with a new theme on Monday.
  • The comments section will allow you to say on what topics you want to write or to do lists.
    Do not forget to subscribe to the blog so as not to miss the ads Monday.

THE GREAT BOOK OF LISTS, CHAPTER 2.0: DREAM TRIPS

Why not start this month to share a piece of our dreams: the trips we would like to do, the places we dream of going, we note in our list of things to do but absolutely where we never the weather.
These places make us dream, ignite our imagination. These travel plans can also throw new light on our neighborhood.

My Dream Trips

(After the first two, these are in no particular order; some I’ve visited already but would love to return to.)

  1. Greek Isles
  2. Sienna, Italy
  3. Boston, MA, USA
  4. New Orleans, LA, USA
  5. San Francisco, CA, USA
  6. India (Goa, Jaipur, anywhere!)
  7. Bora Bora
  8. Sydney, Australia
  9. Seattle, WA, USA
  10. Arizona, USA

What would be on your list of dream trips?