One of my favorite authors, Sarah Dessen, writes “the Friday Five” every, well, Friday in her personal blog. I love the concept, but personally, I think Fridays are already awesome. But Mondays? They could use a little help.
So here’s five things that have brought joy to my life recently in some way or another. Make your Monday merrier! Besides, you know what they say about “counting your blessings…”
5 Good Things
1. On Friday night, Sean treated me to ice cream from a neighborhood place, Emack & Bolio’s, and I tried salted caramel ice cream with chocolate-covered mini pretzels! I never knew I why people always rave about the salted caramel lattes at Starbucks, but now I totally get it. Salty sweetness is sometimes just the perfect juxtaposition of flavors. The ice cream was SO. GOOD. The perfect start to an otherwise laundry- and chore-filled weekend.
2. Now that the weather is a little nicer — it’s in the lower 60s right now, so I didn’t have to turn on the A/C when I got home, for once! — street festivals are popping up all over the place. Yesterday a pretty extensive one sprung up on 3rd Ave. on the UES. I walked down the street from 86th to 75th, and as I was walking downhill as well as downtown, I could see huge throngs of people all at once. I never did figure out what the festival was for or about, but there were your typical fair food vendors (deep-fried oreos, kettle korn, and at least a dozen fresh-squeezed lemonade stands in that 11-block stretch alone), a man making balloon animals for children, a few stands for the Chamber of Commerce and other city organizations, and little stands selling silk scarves, costume jewelry, handbags, and so on. What was amusing was that I began to see multiple tents selling the same things–I saw at least three selling knock-off designer sunglasses.
It was almost like Niceville’s annual Mullet Festival, except with less smoke and fried fish, and more tall buildings.
The usual street vendors, who camp out near the metro station and sell the weirdest things (one man has a table of high-end nail polish for suspiciously low prices, another sells CDs of himself covering Bob Dylan songs, and a woman has little plastic baggies of dried fruits and nuts), seemed to be enjoying the extra foot traffic. My only purchase was a cup of lemonade. It was tricky deciding which one to spend my money on, as there were so many. I was unable to turn down an overly jolly man who referred to his citrusy beverage as “exquisite.” How often is lemonade described as “exquisite”? Too rarely, I tell you. Also, he shook the ice, drink, and lemon slices together “like a margarita.” He meant martini, but the sentiment was still nice.
I noticed a sign this evening for a fall street festival at the Catholic parish down the street. I’ll have to check that one out too!
3. Do you ever become completely obsessed with one particular song and then listen to it over and over and over and OVER again? I only have this problem every once in a great while, but I swear for the past month, I can’t get over Radical Face’s “Welcome Home.” The whole album, Ghost, is fantastic, but this one song stands out to me in its folksy acoustic and clapping goodness. This is everything I feel like a song should be.
Plus, Ben Cooper, the man behind this musical act, is based out of Jacksonville, Florida. Sometimes you just gotta have home state pride. I love the music video, too, because you can see distinctly northern Floridian landscape in the background of some scenes.
Go ahead, I dare you do listen to this song and not be happier after:
4. As if we didn’t already know our cat was a huge couch potato (except, of course, when the humans are attempting to sleep at night), she appears to love watching television. She sat completely absorbed for most of the animated film Fantastic Mr. Fox a few weekends ago, watching the little animal-characters run around the screen. I think she enjoyed it because she thought the foxes were cats.
Kitty enjoys the Interwebz.
And like I’ve mentioned before, she can totally veg out in front of a video from the YouTube channel “Videos for your Cat.” Maybe “veg out” isn’t the right phrase. She sits very alert, her eyes darting around the screen, and occasionally paws at the birds or fish moving around on the laptop. Poor thing doesn’t get to see real wildlife much, even with the garden courtyard she can see from her favorite perch on either of the living room windows. Although she did once spot one of the cats who lives out there as it ran across a fence. I’ve never seen her eyes get bigger.
E.B. stands for “Elwyn Brooks.” No wonder he went by his initials professionally.
5. Last week I read the wonderful essay “Here is New York” by E.B. White. Yes, the E.B. White of Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web fame. This little gem of a book, which I borrowed from the library on my Kindle, was named one of the 10 best books ever written about NYC by The New York Times and declared “the wittiest essay, and one of the most perceptive, ever done on the city” by The New Yorker. It is truly White’s love letter to the city.
Even though it was penned in 1949, so many of White’s words still ring true. He captures the mysteriously captivating traits of New York in ways that I never could. A must-read for anyone living in or visiting New York–or dreaming of it. I’ll copy one of my favorite passages here:
There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born here, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size and its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter — the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something. Of these three trembling cities the greatest is the last — the city of final destination, the city that is a goal. It is the third city that accounts for New York’s high-strung disposition, its poetical deportment, its dedication to the arts, and its incomparable achievements. Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness; natives give it solidity and continuity; but the settlers give it passion.
Here’s to a new week of yet-to-be-discovered opportunities and adventures!