Drink Up!

I got a latte at the college cafe today. A new student worker was being trained and she mostly made the coffee by herself (with just a bit of help from a supervisor). I’m ashamed to say that I was expecting it to be horrible.

I was very pleasantly surprised to find that it was quite good.

Not nearly as good as coffee from The Gryphon or Victoria and Albert’s, but very solid.

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A New Favorite Cider: Thatcher’s Green Goblin, an oak-aged cider from Somerset, England.

I really love a good cup of coffee. Or, a good cup of black (preferably Nilgiri) tea. At work, you’ll never see me without a Disney mug filled with one or the other. Since I haven’t made a list in awhile, here are some of my favorite beverages:

  • Whole Milk Latte: The coffee has to be strong (strong, strong) and not bitter. I really like when there are caramel notes. And, yes, it has to be whole milk.
  • Nilgiri Tea: I prefer it unsweetened and with a splash of whole milk.
  • Pimm’s Cup
  • Hard Cider: There are so many varieties, but I’m really partial to English style ciders (usually more dry and less sweet than the one’s from here).
  • Orange Juice: When I get a craving for this, watch out. Do not stand in the way of me getting to my OJ. I have been known to drink an entire 1/2 gallon in a single day. Just ask The Dude.
  • Water with Mint and Lemon: I used to hate water. I used to choke on it. Once I made my peace with it, I’ve never looked back.

What are your favorite drinks?

Bangarang

Yesterday, news broke that Robin Williams died, apparently the victim of a depression-induced suicide.

I’m not ashamed to say that I cried when I read the news. I didn’t know him, of course, but I knew many of his characters like I know my own face. I grew up with them, with his voices in my ears and in my imagination. I wanted a friend like him and a nanny like him (her?) and a teacher like him.

Last night and today, the internet is rife with outpourings of grief for a man that, to the public eye, was so filled with joy. Depression is such an insidious disease, infecting quietly and fiercely and indiscriminately. It is true darkness.

But, darkness can be overcome. I don’t pretend to know anything about mental illness. I’ve only seen the havoc it can wreak on people, have only watched, helpless, as people I love spiraled into a void that I couldn’t reach. But, I have seen them crawl out of it. I have seen them use compassion and understanding and laughter and joy to bring light into the darkness.

Robin Williams said that “Comedy is acting out optimism,” so, today, I want to talk about joy, the little things that can always make me smile. The tiny, quiet things that I often forget about (which is why you won’t see The Dude or Keke or Disney on this list), the things that surprise me into laughter or fill my heart with hope and happiness.

And, because you know how much I love lists, here’s a list of some of them:

  1. Stories about ordinary people doing good deeds (or, sometimes, just the right thing). You know, the things that show how truly decent people can be. Things this like this or this or this or this.
  2. Catching a favorite movie on TV. There’s something to special about flipping through channels and landing on a movie that you haven’t seen in forever, but that you love. This past weekend, it happened more than once and each time, I was sucked in.
  3. Making people laugh (and, laughing with them). Like, really laugh. The kind of laugh where you’re doubled-over and crying and have to be careful or you’ll end up on the ceiling with Uncle Albert.
  4. The smell of fall.
  5. Sitting outside with a really good cup of coffee and a book.
  6. Jumping out and scaring The Dude. Seriously, I love it.
  7. Getting cards (birthday, Halloween, Christmas, whatever).

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    Hitchhiking at Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party

  8. Halloween! I love, love, love Halloween. I’m not a partier, but I love to dress up when we go to Disney or, when we’re home, to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters.
  9. Roasting mini marshmallows over a candle.
  10. Going shopping with my mom or my mom and aunt. We have the best time and spend the whole day chatting and laughing.
  11. Taking pictures. I don’t do it nearly enough anymore and I don’t know why. I should do something about that.

What are the things that bring you joy?

Swatting Flies and Wordsmithery

I’m really good at swatting flies. Like, freakishly good (*knock on wood so I don’t jinx myself*).

It’s pretty rare that I start stalking a fly and don’t take it down after a few minutes. I have no idea why this is. Maybe it’s because I hate flies more than any other insect? Maybe it’s because I have lightning fast reflexes? Maybe I was a cat in a previous life? Whatever the reason, it’s one of my weird, hidden talents. As a complement to my post about things I’m terrible at, here are some more of my talents:

  1. Trying new foods. This is one of my favorite things and I’ve gotten to the point where very little (foodwise) scares me. I could never knowingly eat cat/dog/horse, but a fish eye or foie gras milkshake? Bring it on!
  2. Planning Disney vacations. Seriously. I love, love, love the minutiae of it.
  3. Wordsmithing. Sometimes, starting a writing project (blog post, story, documentation) is really difficult for me, but editing is a piece of cake. At work, I always volunteer for groups in charge of editing and rehashing documents, and am often sought out to read over things that others have written.
  4. Making lists. I love these things. Plus, I feel so accomplished when I do it!
  5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Saved by the Bell trivia. Quick, quiz me! I miss both of those shows so much. Zack Attack and Scoobies for life!
  6. Dancing like no one is watching. Not much embarrasses me and I don’t care what others think when I randomly bust a move. Jazz hands and random leaps are often involved. I’m particularly good at The Elaine, but not so much The Sprain.

Maybe next I’ll make a list of things I want to do better!

Fictional Bucket List

You know what would be cool? Being able to have long, involved conversations with animals. Or, having a (half) giant come to tell  you that you’re a wizard. Or, being given a chocolate factory just because you aren’t  horrible, greedy, and ill-behaved.

When I’m reading a book I love, I tend to get very involved in the book, very invested in the emotions and experiences of the characters. I especially love that, through them, I can experience things that I would never get to experience in my everyday life. The same goes for television shows that I really like; if something makes me want to be there, in that moment, with those characters, I’m hooked.

What experiences would I most like to have(other than the above, naturally)? Here’s my quick fictional (mostly, but not exclusively literary) bucket list:

  1. Attend Hogwarts and get a job at the Ministry of Magic.
  2. Slay a vampire (or demon or monster or whatever) with Buffy and the Scoobies.
  3. Jump into a chalk drawing with Mary Poppins.
  4. Build a cottage in the Enchanted Forest, preferably right next to Morwen.
  5. Go on a tour of London with Arthur Bryant.
  6. Step through a wardrobe and meet a satyr by a lamppost.
  7. Listen to music and have a pint in The Eolian tavern.
  8. Have dinner (or breakfast, or second breakfast, or elevensies) with some hobbits.
  9. Be one of Jessica Fletcher’s best friends (then, I won’t die, but I will get to solve mysteries with her).
  10. Eat cheesecake with Rose, Sophia, Dorothy, and Blanche.

As I was thinking about this list, I couldn’t help thinking of all of the fictional adventures that I want absolutely no part in (Trek through a fire swamp and meet an R.O.U.S.? Thanks but, no thanks.), but I’ll save that list for another day!