we like lists: list # 2: simple pleasures

When I posted a recent Facebook meme - listing your top 15 most important or influential authors - Allan suggested I start a regular list series. I surprised both of us by going for it. I've never wanted to do anything like this with my blog before. But it's fun! I like seeing what readers post; I like the tangential discussions that develop. I have lots of lists in mind, some thoughtful, some frivolous.

I'll label the list posts, so it will be easy to join in older threads at any time. Borrowing (vaguely) from Allan's popular "Everybody Loves A Contest" series, I'll call the series "we like lists". The "15 authors" post is the first in the series.

As for rules, we won't use artificial time limits like "the first 10 that come to mind" or "15 in 15 minutes". Take your time. Brief explanations - a phrase or a sentence - are welcome. Long explanations detract from list-making fun, I think - but I won't kick you off the thread if you digress.

Order doesn't count. Let's not waste time worrying about if something is your number four - or is it number six - favourite or most hated whatchamacallit.

* * * *

Since I'm in the US for Thanksgiving, spending time with people I love, relaxing and eating great food, I'll suggest a list of simple comforts.

Simple Pleasures: name 10 things that cost nothing or very little that can make you feel good. This isn't "top 10 things I love to do". It's small moments that sometimes bring you great joy.

1. A great cup of coffee
2. A great cup of tea in the afternoon
3. Crisp autumn weather
4. Reading a good book
5. Watching a contented dog relax outside
6. Watching dogs play together
7. Walking in the woods
8. Feeling part of a community
9. Seeing beautiful natural scenery (mountains, coastline, lakes, sunsets, trees)
10. Having a whole day to myself

Your turn.


Guillermo said...

I love the idea! Let's see...

1.- Meeting my wife every afternoon when coming back from work
2.- My kids smiles when I play with them
3.- A nice NFL game
4.- The Ox Head stews in Kanata
5.- Writing in my blogs
6.- Meeting with my friends and talk and talk and talk about nothing and everything for hours.
7.- Reading some emails once in a while where I discover I was able to change someone's life for good.
8.- The adrenaline I fell behind some new project
9.- Buying some new, stupid, little gadget for me with my PayPal account... "Because I earned it!"
10.- Reading my home country newspapers and knowing I'm not there anymore!

johngoldfine said...

You've taken half of mine already, dammit: coffee, dogs, walking, books. At least I can say, unlike you, that I don't care for Fall weather particularly.

1. Walking with five attentive and attractive dogs in the woods and fields.

2. Stacking the last of the firewood for the year.

3. Finding two Netflix envelopes in the mail.

4. Posting comments on JOS/wmtc.

5. First tomato, potatoes, corn, asparagus, artichokes from the garden.

6. A new New York Review of Books in the mailbox.

7. A fast computer.

8. A pint of shandy after a long day walking or riding in the UK.

9. Brand new Thor-Lo Light Hikers.

10. A fast fast tolt.

11. A student essay that makes me say 'Sweet holy fuck!'

12. Boca curling up under the covers between my wife and me and the resulting sleepy argument about who she's closer to and who that proves she loves more.

13. A fire in the stove, preferably (by far) one my wife has made.

14. The first snowdrops and crocuses coming up through the snow.

15. Mailhot's Cretons spread on seeded Jewish rye.

16. A Labadie's vanilla/raspberry whoopie pie for breakfast.

17. Flirting

18. Finding a trumpet of chanterelles in the woods.

19. Corresponding via email with my work 'wife'--just good colleagues.

20. Having a good comeback pop into my head right when I need it--none of this esprit de l'escalier stuff.

L-girl said...

I avoided food pleasures, although excellent food - including the simple pleasure of great corn or tomatoes or strawberries - is so wonderful.

I also avoided baseball, because that is beyond simple pleasure. I'm sure there'll be plenty of baseball on other lists.

I share Guillermo's #7 and #10! :)

And John has so many simple pleasures he couldn't limit himself to 10. Cool.

M@ said...

Here are mine... I'm sure that I'll think of ten better ones the moment I hit "publish".

1. First sip of a good beer in a good pub.

2. Closing the notebook after finishing a good writing session.

3. Hearing a vinyl record playing on a really good stereo.

4. Watching a dog fall asleep.

5. Watching a fire burn in the fireplace.

6. Related to #2 -- finishing an ink cartridge in my pen and putting a new one in.

7. An unexpected compliment.

8. Pulling perfectly cooked meat out of the oven. There's just something about the smell and anticipation with roasted beef, pork, or fowl.

9. When the right song comes on the iPod playlist at just the right time.

10. Pulling the plastic off a new and highly anticipated CD or DVD.

Lorna said...

1. Riding bikes
2. When a favourite song comes on the radio during my commute.
3. A crossword puzzle that I can complete 70% on the first pass and finish on the second.
4. Eating outside.
5. Polar fleece.
6. The moment when swimming in cold water that "you'll get used to it" comes true.
7. A pedicure.
8. When the neighbour children want me to take them for a walk. "Just Lorna, no Mommy".
9. Fresh bed linens.
10. When I've remembered to bring lip balm with me on a cold day.

Stephanie said...

Love the idea!!

1. The sound of secada by day and crickets and frogs by night in the sweltering heat of the summer.

2. The muffled barking and jerking paws when Negrita is having a very active dream.

3. The daily antics of the birds and squirrels in our front garden preparing their winter stores.

4. Changing into comfy lounging clothes at the end of the day.

5. Spending an entire day with a good book.

6. Knowing all the words and singing along to a great song.

7. The smell of spring rain.

8. Making the rounds at the farmer's market on Saturday morning.

9. Baking custards and/or bread puddings.

10. Being on the shore of big water.

Jen said...


*getting into bed at any time and having Leah snuggle right over --9/10 she'll do this in her sleep and is one of my favourite things.
*rolling over in bed, looking at the clock and realising I don't have to get up, then falling back to sleep.
*at work if I get an older infant or toddler to smile/laugh at me (the toughest age group for fearing nurses) I call out "I win!" and tell everyone my work day is done (even if it is 0745am (15 minutes after the start).
*put on a new pair of socks
*compliment a stranger/mere acquaintance on something--they are often shocked
*good food with good company
*good coffee
*watching my dog get a good chase going with (an)other dog(s)
*first ski of the year (first skate is pretty good too, but the first ski is often at night, fresh snow and everyone is excited to be there. There's no previous ski to compare it too)
*surf over to wtmc and find lighthearted things like list-building amongst the heavier topics.

Jen said...

Ha! I didn't look at the other lists and I love the overlap--dogs, coffee are more expected but I love that socks (other than Red Sox) are repeated. I have to admit that a pair of Thorlo light hikers are the creme de la creme, but any new pair of socks will do! I also love all of Lorna's list (though I haven't experienced 7 or 8, I imagine both are lovely).

L-girl said...

Oo, this is great.

Fresh linens! And eating outside, I also love. How could I have forgotten that. I guess it's as M@ said, I could rattle off another 10 later.

Thinking you have to wake up and discovering you have another hour of sleep is so delicious.

First sip of beer... especially if it's Guinness.

And (drumroll please) changing into comfy clothes at the end of the day. Brilliant.

Jere said...

cats kneading
rain at end of hot day
plane crossing directly in front of moon
silence in NYC
lit-up ballpark at twilight
snow backlit by streetlight
loud AC at a cheap motel
shooting star
the thought of what 9casey's list will be like, in both content and layout

Joe Gravellese said...

1. Discovering a new neighborhood or park in a city.
2. The sound that ice skates make when they carve into ice.
3. Light snow
4. Church bells chiming at the top of the hour
5. Walking past fields where young kids are playing baseball or softball.
6. Seeing old Italian men playing bocce or chess in public places in Boston's North End.
7. Giant maps.
8. Baseball in the radio while sitting outside in the summer time
9. Raspberry Lime Rickeys on the beach
10. Going for walks in ridiculously small New England towns

L-girl said...

Baseball in the radio while sitting outside in the summer time


L-girl said...

Great list, Joe :)

L-girl said...

Hey, two crickets/cicadas so far. Cool.

Guess I could have combined these three comments into one.

deang said...

This had to be a "the first ten that came to mind" list, because there are just too many otherwise:

The feel of rough weaves like linen, tweedy wools, raw silks, etc.

Unexpected chord progressions.

The first sprouts and buds of a new growing season, especially when it's something you've planted for the first time.

Stepping out of an overly air-conditioned building into the warm summer sun.

The sounds of chickadees and titmice, which flock together where I live (this was an especially hard one because so many bird sounds make me smile or laugh. Grackle calls really crack me up).

The first warm day of spring.

The first cool day of fall.

When cicadas call in waves with the summer heat. Few things are better at lulling me into naptime.

The smell of rich, healthy, humus-rich earth.


impudent strumpet said...

1. Sleeping until I wake up naturally (no alarm!), then maybe rolling back over to go back into the last dream I was having.
2. Hour-long showers. Non-rushed mornings in general, actually.
3. Days when my hair/makeup/outfit does exactly what I'm trying to get it to do.
4. First cold night of the winter, warm body, big fluffy duvet.
5. First warm day of the spring, twirly skirt, bare legs.
6. Those rare occasions when my ill-advised attempts to harmonize with whatever music is playing actually work.
7. Solving computer problems that I didn't know how to solve going in.
8. Being extremely competent at my job or some other grownup thing while wearing clothes or listening to music that the adults around me growing up thought was inappropriate.
9. Eating the exact food I'm craving.
10. Coming home to a Google Reader full of stuff I can't wait to read.
11. Getting paid for doing something utterly mindless (copy-pasting, finding quotes).
12. Moments when I appreciate adult life through my child-self's eyes. (I can perfectly legitimately use the phrases "my apartment" and "my office"! I get to wear lipstick and heels and earrings and carry a purse! I get to take the subway!)
13. The unique sigh-of-relief feeling of coming home on Friday evening, closing and locking the door behind me, and knowing nothing is going to be demanded of me for the next 48 hours.

redsock said...

1 - sitting in the backyard on a crisp autumn afternoon, thinking of pretty much nothing but the enjoyability of the moment (bonus: doing that while watching a fully contented dog obviously doing the same thing)

2 - the smell of roasting garlic in a frying pan

3 - the sound of a wine bottle being uncorked

4 - the first pitch of the night's red sox game

5 - any time i am told the yankees lost

6 - coming home on a bitter winter day, taking a warm shower and getting into pajamas for the evening

7 - reading writing so good, so evocative, or that hits home so directly it makes you teary-eyed with happiness (this can also apply to a movie or music)

8 - a dog sleeping peacefully

9 - the first bite of any favourite foods, from a perfectly done steak to a snickers bar

10 - reading something i wrote at least a year ago and thinking, that's pretty good, much better than i thought at the time

Joe Gravellese said...

To dovetail off of A's #7 - the feeling you get when you finish a GREAT book or TV series or album where it's SO good and means so much that you feel a sort of void in your life when you finish it. It's kind of a negative feeling that makes me feel good, if that makes any sense.

Amy said...

What a great idea for Thanksgiving!

1. Walking my dog.
2. Petting my cats.
3. Watching TV, even if it is something stupid.
4. Doing the NYTimes crossword puzzle
5. Sitting on the beach
6. Watching baseball
7. Holding my grandson
8. Talking to Harvey
9. Going to the movies
10. Walking in the woods
11. Reading
12. Ice cream
13. Dancing to a slow song
14. Giggling
15. Scrabble

redsock said...

16. Being told by Allan that "Jon Miller officially severed all ties with ESPN Monday".

johngoldfine said...

Grackle calls really crack me up).

deang--I've sat out on the stoop on a warmish April day and listened to huge flocks of them. If you listen long enough, you can hear them imitating whatever the ambient sounds are. Hearing a dozen of them do my roosters in falsetto and unsynchronized is pretty good, but nothing beats a chorus of grackles buzzing away when my neighbor fires up his chainsaw....

L-girl said...

I was hoping to see Amy's list include ice cream. :)

I really relate to Joe's feeling of finishing a great book or movie, and you love it so much you wish it would go on forever, you almost ache for more. It is so incredible that art can affect us that way - one of the great joys and mysteries of being human.

Imp Strump's long showers and non-rushed mornings are irresistible.

I'm enjoying everyone's lists so much. Hence I keep gumming up the thread with "me too me too".

Jen said...

It would make a great list: "Top x pieces of art that left a void"

Dharma Seeker said...

This is so great!

1. Feeling Kiera's breath and hearing her gentle snores as she sleeps pressed up against me.

2. Fresh bed sheets with freshly shaved legs - strangely luxurious.

3. Singing as loud as I can in my car.

4. Looking back on the last year and feeling grateful for the people who stood by me, and sometimes held me up. Think Sarah McLaughlin's 'Push' if it were about a friend instead of a lover. I have more true friends than one person should be allowed.

5. A perfectly made late.

6. Cat kneads, all the way.

7. Hearing my foster kittens have been adopted.

8. Canine antics.

9. Wildife videos that are so riveting I'm mesmerized, and all that exists are the images on the screen.

10. Videos of a Lion Called Christian, particularly the one on Youtube set to Aerosmith's 'Don't Wanna Miss a Thing'.

11. The Group of Seven

12. Having a genuine connection

Dharma Seeker said...

@Redsock your number 5 kills me! I lol'd :)

impudent strumpet said...

Grackle is my new favourite word!

Amy said...

16. Being told by Allan that "Jon Miller officially severed all ties with ESPN Monday".

ROFL, Allan!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving (a bit late for the Canadians, but nevertheless, never too late). :)