Friday, October 23, 2009

Little Pleasures That Make Any Given Day More Inviting

- Twining's Cold-Brew Lady Grey tea. My favorite kind, now also sold in cold-brew bags. Very convenient, particularly during the summer months, though this came out after summer was over. Still, I love having it and will probably keep buying it even in winter, provided they still stock it in winter. And why not? I'm sure some people eat ice cream in winter.

- Hungry-Man fried chicken TV dinner. Jeopardy! comes on, and I go to the dining room table (which is merely the right side of the living room if you're sitting on the couch against the wall on the left, if you're sitting at my place at the dining room table), and there is microwaved satisfaction, three pieces of fried chicken with some crunchiness from the skin. I love turning each piece over, seeing what they offer, which is big enough for me. To me, it's hearty, good-natured simplicity. There's mashed potatoes and corn, and that's easy. The corn goes right into the mashed potatoes, stuffed right in there. The brownie's always been a downer to me. Not that I don't like it. It's chocolate and that says enough. But it always felt to me like they should attempt a cobbler. Apple, peach, just something. Looking at reviews of the meals online, this one had an apple-cranberry crumb dessert in 2007. Now it's a Duncan Hines brownie and I could see why they went with that because first, there's a deal to be made in product placement, and since Duncan Hines makes the brownies, that's one less thing the company has to make and it saves them money. Maybe a cobbler would be asking too much. Besides, whomever pops this in a microwave either doesn't have much time to think about what a better alternative dessert would be, or doesn't care, because it's the end of the day and there's some sitcoms coming on to carry a stressed mind away from the source of that day's stress. I wasn't raised in the true South, but in Florida, I grew up on grits and cobbler. It's just how I think.

- Tortilla chips - This only cropped up again recently. My three favorite foods are fettucine alfredo, quesadillas, and nachos. Fettucine alfredo is always at the top. Doesn't matter if it's with chicken or without. Quesadillas and nachos always fight over the second spot. If my sister makes quesadillas, then nachos have to sit in third place. If the nachos are Cheesecake Factory nachos, then quesadillas have a long way down after they've been pushed. I got into tortilla chips again just to have the basic beginning of nachos. I tried Trader Joe's yellow, organic tortilla rounds and those were very salty. I liked them, but I'd also forgotten that tortilla chips can be had without the salt. In getting tortilla chips from Ralph's (some anonymous brand for $2), I forgot that again, but intend to get them without salt next time. Maybe some salsa too. To me, the crunch of a tortilla chip is far more convincing than that of a potato chip, which always sounds too busy. The crunch of a tortilla chip is decisive. One bite and it's loud.

My pleasures are not only food. Those are temporary moments. Live the moment and then it's gone, being churned into goop and glop and energy and more glop in places unseen, and designs unknown, at least until the next time you enter the bathroom.

There's also:

- Books. General, I know. I love opening different books and finding voices from all around the world. I'm reading "The Tracey Fragments" right now (because it's due again this Sunday (my local library's also open every Sunday from 1-5 p.m.) and I've a feeling someone else has it on hold), and the author, Maureen Medved, is Canadian. I love reading writers from the South, I love reading David Sedaris, I love when a voice emerges that you never imagined could be possible in words. I love disappearing for hours at a time into paragraphs, not at all intimidated by there possibly not being paragraph breaks for pages at a time. I just like to disappear into other words for a while. Not necessarily words. Sometimes a semi-colon in the middle of a wide-ranging thought is enough for me.

- Being out on the patio at 2 a.m. Just to stand outside, look over the wall at the community pool and the still spa, the few lights still on on the mountainside with dozens of houses, the uniform plant life around the area, the trucks parked in the neighborhood lot that I can see from my vantage point, imagining that I own them for those few hours, and especially the stars, which, with less lights now than there were at the condominium in South Florida, I can see more clearly and can easily make out the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper. And sometimes I just like to connect the stars with no thought toward constellations.

More of my little pleasures soon.