Traveling to new places...I love a good adventure! I love to get lost in a foreign country...or a foreign county...or finding my way around a new city. I love being reminded of how big and GRAND the world is.
EATING! I love food and flavors and I SO love breakfasts and desserts and the JOY of deliciousness! And oh how I love SHARING the sheer pleasures of EATING!
Cleaning and organizing. I LOVE having a lovely, sparkling clean, neat and organized home, including my garage. I love having my closets and cabinets and drawers in order. I think order brings an undeniable calm to your life.
Dancing! Whether it's at a wedding with my family and friends or in my kitchen with Michael Buble and John Mayer, I love to get my groove on!
Shopping at Trader Joe's. Honestly, I could walk around there for hours. Their specialty items, their flowers, the greeting cards, the extensive wine selection, unique candies and cookies, the Island music and friendly service...oh and the chance to win $25 when you bring your own bags...oh, heck yeah, I love TJ's!
Taking a nap. I have to tell ya, to me, it's one of life's most basic and simple pleasures. Even just 15 minutes of laying down is so relaxing and so soothing...and so peaceful. It refreshes and recharges me!
Checking everything off my 'to do' list. Every day, while I'm at work, I make a list of things to do when I get off. OH how I love to check things off one by one: go get gas (check!), drive through the car wash (check!), get cash at the bank (check!) pick up my dry cleaning (check!!) I love feeling productive, especially after a full day's work!
Take a load to the Goodwill. I know, I know...what could I possibly have left? Those of you who have been to my house recently know that there's STILL a whole lot of stuff in a very little amount of space. I just love knowing what I need and what I don't need! I took another (albeit small) box today...how I loved driving up to the truck and having the guy say, "Hi Julie!"
Having fresh flowers in my home! Whether it's roses or tulips or poinsettias or more roses! They make my home a brighter, happier place and make me SMILE constantly! (And I love to take pictures of them too!)
Having 10,000 steps on my pedometer each day. Feels SO good to keep moving, to be active and to stay in shape. I love being able to get a workout while I'm at work!
Getting a sweet text and/or an email or a voice mail from someone. I read/listen to them over and over and over again!
Listening to music. The iPod is on quite often around here and, more often than not, I'm singing along. I love to sing...and I'm not half bad! I swear, it makes my heart happy to belt out a show tune or sing along with Elton and Sting. And, no matter what else I forget in life, somehow, I ALWAYS remember lyrics to songs. Priorities.
Watching TV on DVD. No cable bill, no commercials and being able to watch when I have time. I SO love getting a season of a great TV show on Netflix (or borrowing it from my TV-loving daughter) and, can't imagine watching any other way anymore!
Kissing...holding hands...being affectionate.
The internet. I can't imagine what I did before there was Google, Amazon, espn.com, Facebook, Yahoo, or eBay. I can sit for hours (and yes, I do) and 'surf the net' (is that even a term anymore?!)
Being disciplined about my money and my spending. Speaking of the internet, I LOVE checking my bank account balance and my credit card account activity and so enjoy being able to pay bills and watch the stock market online.
The horses! NOTHING better than a beautiful morning at Santa Anita with great friends, at a beautiful location, enjoying an incredible breakfast and time with our SWEET horses! I love to talk with them and kiss them and tell them how much I love them! Oh, and of course, take photos with them!
Keeping my life in order. Besides order in my home, I have order in my day to day life...which means I have my calendar with me at all times. With an always-inconsistent work schedule, I have to be diligent about making plans, keeping track of birthdays, and working appointments and events into my life. I think it's what keeps me calm and what keeps me from ever feeling busy or overwhelmed.
Being with my friends. Real, true, genuine friends who know the REAL ME! NOTHING better than being with someone who knows everything about you and still thinks you're awesome! The VAST majority of my friends went to high school with me and we keep in constant contact and do our best to get together as often as possible.
Reading. Is there anything better than reading and finishing a good book? Well, maybe starting a new one! And sharing the joy you found in one! And letting someone borrow it from you. And hearing how much they loved it too. And then, of course, there's the joy of re-reading it.
Learning something new! As someone who literally attended college for 17 years straight, I think I may have become addicted to learning and experiencing new things. I love having someone share their passion or a hobby with me--or even their PERSPECTIVE on a subject and realizing over and over again HOW MUCH THERE IS THAT I DON'T KNOW! I am constantly fascinated by all there is to learn in this world!
Writing. I love to write. I have ideas flowing in my mind constantly and would LOVE to sit and write all day long. With all the reading and TV on DVD watching and dancing and hanging out with friends and cleaning and organizing I do lately...well, I haven't had much chance to sit down and write. But most recently, I've been inspired and encouraged to really sit down and write. I think it's time.
LAUGHING!! I LOVE to laugh and OH how I love to make others laugh! (And I'm funny!) I have laughed so much over this last year...so many good times, great friendships, exciting adventures...laughing all the way! Often I laugh til tears run down my face or until my beverage shoots out of my mouth!)
Looking at old photos/pictures/videos and TAKING lots of pictures! SO many happy, fun times to relive and remember! SO happy to have dozens and dozens of photo albums FILLED with a lifetime of memories! LOVE to chronicle this amazing LIFE!
Sleeping soundly. I have a fabulously comfortable, new bed and I SO enjoy snuggling in there, wrapping up in blankets (pillow between my legs) and getting a really good night's sleep. Lately, I sleep very soundly...I'm not sure if it's a good bed or a good life. Or the combination.
**Bonus**I also REALLY love green olives, dark chocolate molasses chips, getting a surprise in the mail, relaxing in bed all afternoon, blogging, holding someone close, Vin Scully, drooling over Porsches, making someone feel good, a nice long bath, kind people, anything baseball related, watching a movie with a friend, getting dressed up fancy, champagne, Broadway musicals, donuts and long, deep, meaningful conversations....
And oh man...so OH so much more. Life really is good and SO full of things that I love.
I first read Frederick Douglass' amazing book in a Literature class at Saddleback College in about 1988--and fell in love with it. I read it again when I was in an English class at Cal State Fullerton in the mid 90s and it meant even more to me then! I do believe that I've read it through practically every other year of my life since then. It is more powerful and more meaningful to me every single time I read it.
It is such inspirational story...a story of persistence and resilience and perseverance. It's a lesson in never giving up, in moving forward and in being determined to get what you want--and deserve--out of life.
Though we lived completely different circumstances, I do believe Mr. Douglass and I had quite a bit in common, and every time I re-read the book, I am absolutely in awe of him and his unbelievable journey. I am also ALWAYS completely inspired. Inspired to be diligent and hardworking and conscientious and unrelenting! And to thoroughly enjoy the fruits of my efforts.
"I prayed for twenty years but received no answer...until I prayed with my legs."
"You are not judged by the height you have risen, but from the depth you have climbed."