Sunday, November 04, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things

I found myself in the car, driving solo, for several hours today. I went up to Charlottesville for a singles activity/get-together at Monticello. I hadn't been to Monticello since I was a little girl. I have a very visual memory, and can often remember full scenes of my life when I re-enter a space I had been in once before. I was surprised that I remembered almost nothing of Monticello.
I really enjoyed the tour and learning more about the lifestyle in the late 1700s & early 1800s. I am currently deep into a historical fiction phase and this trip came at just the right time. (And just as I was in need of some socializing and meeting new people too.)
I am normally not a gift shop fan. I avoid them like the plague, but changed my mind today and spent some time in the very large shop at Monticello. I found some beautiful plates and other dishes (completely out of my price range) in there that I studied and admired for a few minutes. They were traditional Staffordshire plates, some blue, some red.
As I looked at them (the ones shown above are a mere $431), I remembered I own a lovely little Delft dish I purchased in Amsterdam several years ago.  (this isn't my exact bowl but it looks a lot like it)
It got me to thinking about my little bowl. I haven't seen it in a very long time because it is in storage in another state. I love that bowl. Why? Because it was one of the first true things I bought because it was my taste. Not because it was cheap, or matched a roommate's stuff, or was needed, or was on sale. No, I bought it because it's something I found to be beautiful. (I spent close to 30 Euro on it I think!)

As I looked at the Staffordshire dishes I started to wonder if I prefer Delft over Staffordshire? And then I asked myself if there was a reason I had to like one more than the other, or if I intended to be a purist and stay true to one style over another?

All of these thoughts led me to thinking about what it is I like. How many things do I have or things to do I because it was convenient, or someone else wanted to do it, or it was affordable? How often do I do something, buy something, etc because it is what I like?

I don't own any Christmas decorations. Why? Because I've always lived with roommates who had plenty of them. Or I was going to be traveling for Christmas, or I was unemployed and not about to spend money on something as trivial as holiday decor. Mostly it is because I almost always spend Christmas somewhere else, and not at my house, and I don't see the point in decorating just for me. As a result, I don't own any Christmas decorations.

Well, I didn't until today that is. I have very specific taste in Christmas decorations. Very specific. I also have very specific taste in what I do not like in holiday decorations. And today I officially purchased my first very own Christmas ornament. It only took me 37 years.

There are several things that I really enjoy that I almost never participate in or even talk to people about. Mostly it is because I don't know anyone with shared appreciations. For instance, I love, absolutely completely love gospel spiritual songs.

Alex Boye kills it in this rendition of "Rock a My Soul." This is the kind of song I absolutely love and adore to SING! Oh yes, I don't just love to listen to it. I absolutely freaking love singing old spirituals. I would absolutely give anything to sing in a true southern baptist style choir and do this kind of music. But you know what? I cannot stand it when the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (a choir I greatly admire and respect) sings old spirituals. They are too big, too buttoned up, and too rehearsed and technical. Mostly it is their size that doesn't work. The whole point of old spirituals was to join in and add your voice to that of the leader's. A big formal choir can't let loose in a way that does the song justice.

So why don't I ever sing the styles of music I love? (The other style would be "pop standard.") because. It's just not a regular part of my life, and I don't have anyone to share it with. You know what else I love? Concert piano music. Twice I have been blessed with roommates who were gifted pianists. There was nothing I loved more than listening to them play. One was a concert performance major in school, and would rehearse at home about 3-4 hours a day. I would intentionally make sure I was home during her rehearsal time so I could sit in my room, with the door open, and do my own studying while she rehearsed.

I thought more about this today as I drove. What do I love? What are the things I truly enjoy? What are the things I do because it is just a part of my culture, family, friends, and I've come to like them or accept them, even if it isn't how I want to do them?

The list got long.

For instance, Thanksgiving. I've been joking around that I am going to boycott or skip Thanksgiving this year. And after my deep thoughts today I am even more convinced that I will skip it. Why? Because we will yet again be doing the thing I don't enjoy and bores me and I don't see the point. I don't need to travel to another town to see the people I see all the time already. I keep in touch with everyone already. I don't need to go to a big family event to talk to anyone. I talk to them plenty. I don't like having (literally) 50 little kids stampeding around. I don't like the food. And really, what is the point of Thanksgiving if the food isn't good? (It isn't that the food wasn't supposed to be good. It's that we all have to travel to get there, and there's only one microwave, and so the food is always cold, and never freshly prepared. And some families always arrive an hour late showing up with some side dish (cold) that would have been better had I not finished eating already.) And more than anything, I can't stand having a supposed close family event in a church in another town where there's no place to sit and get comfortable and have a good chat.

So you know what? I'm not going to do it.

You know I do like? Humanitarian work. I love service projects. That's what defines me. I love to do service projects. I've always wanted to do community service on Thanksgiving, but I've never had the chance because I always have to go to our big family stuff. But I've decided no more! It is time to start making my own traditions. I'm going to do what I want to do, instead of what is expected of me.

IMHO, the best Bond ever and one of the best Bond films ever. 

For the past few months I have been dating a really nice guy (although we are no longer dating). One of the things that drew me to him was our shared interests. We have several shared likes and interests in music, movies, politics, and some other areas as well. It was actually an uncanny number of shared interests. But I realized something today- we never shared them. We never did any of those things together and almost never talked about them either. I knew they were there, and I mentioned it to him once that we had a few things in common. But it was never really there. I am so accustomed to not sharing my preferences (both interactively or verbally) that it just never came up. I know he likes Bond movies, superhero movies, and a few other things that I love as well. If you know me well, you know I have an extensive collection of superhero t-shirts. I wear them all the time. He doesn't know that. I never wore them around him, and it just isn't something that comes up in conversation much. "Yeah, I have an awesome Incredible Hulk shirt, dude."

You know what very few people know about me? I freaking love Hitchcock movies and Doris Day movies. Oh and if you have ever been in my house (as in the house I decorated and called my own) you know I love musicals. (Most of my own home decor is Broadway and old Hollywood inspired.) And I absolutely love live music- particularly country music concerts. I need friends that share those hobbies with me, but I doubt anyone knows I even like them.

So this is my new decision. I'm doing what I love. Even if it means having to do a lot of it alone because I have no one to currently share it with. It probably means I will have to see "Skyfall" alone next week, because there's no one here to see it with. But I love movie premiere nights, and I love Bond, so I'm going to go alone. And I'm going to find a Christmas spiritual singalong and sing to my heart's content. I'd rather not do everything alone, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. And I'd rather do the things I love alone, than do nothing waiting to find someone to do it with.

And you know what I'm not going to do? Thanksgiving. And I'm not going to watch Hitchcock films at home by myself. Scares the living bejeezus out of me every time. 


  1. Amen, sister! I would dearly love to boycott Thanksgiving. I have gotten as far as refusing to put my hand up a turkey's rump ever since divorcing the children's father. I like the food just fine, as long as somebody else is fixing it. I would be happy with a Thanksgiving lasagna (and would be willing to fix it, even). This will be the first T-day as a blended family. Thankfully, the kids (all grown) seem to genuinely like one another, and the grandkids haven't seen their counterparts since the wedding. I guarantee things will not be boring ;)

  2. Amazing, I've been thinking about this too.
    for example, my passport just expired. There was not a single stamp in it. I didn't go anywhere. No one to go with.

    This time of year, I get totally stressed out about Christmas. I haven't had the Christmas I want in more than 20 years.
    This year, I'm tempted to fly home with seven envelopes each with $20 in them. That's it. And I'll still get less in return. (not that I'm counting... but why should I pay for an extra bag on the flight home, just to bring it back home empty? and pay another baggage fee for the return flight?

    There is so much I haven't done in life that I wanted to do, because I've been waiting for someone to want to do it with me. It sounds pathetic, but I don't mean it that way. I just really think each year, that I'm one year away from finding someone who wants to spend time with me, and live our dreams together.


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