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Thanks to Rockycat, I’ll be talking about 10 things I like that start with the letter N:
1) Nilla wafers — This humble little crispy cookie is my favorite bought cookie. You can eat them out of the box with a cold glass of milk, put them in banana pudding, use them as a pie crust, hand them to a toddler if you want a gigantic mushy mess. Anyhow, they remind me of sunny patches on the floor of my childhood home and watching little speckles of dust float through the air. I don’t take the time for that kind of present absorption now, so Nilla wafers have to do.
2) Note-taking — I can’t listen to someone else talk in a professional setting without taking notes. I love having the opportunity to rearrange their speech into boiled-down bits for later review. The process of taking notes makes all the wheels turn in my mind and I remember both what I hear and what I see on the note page, so it’s valuable as a memory aid even if I never refer to the actual artifact of the notes again.
3) New pens — A box of new pens is double plus good. My current favorite mid-range pen is black Uniball Visions…they don’t fade, the ink is waterproof, and with most paper, the ink absorbs and sets quickly so I don’t smear it all over my hand. I have fancier pens, including a number of fountain pens, but I tend not to use them as much as I do the Staples/Office Depot grade stuff. I have a general problem convincing myself to use anything “nice” for fear that I’ll never be able to replace it when it’s all gone (doubly stupid, since it denies me the pleasure of enjoying it and adds the dread of scarcity on top). Anyhow, I always believe that I can replace a dollar pen, so I use it and like it.
4) Nollywood films — or, more accurately, I liked the recent documentary I saw on Nigerian film-making. One of the directors was so passionate about movie-making that as a teenager he made his own projector from things like hammer-flattened tin cans and scavanged hardware out of hand mixers and such. He just burns with the need to make movies. When you see the material conditions in which these films are made and the drive that the directors, casts, and crews have to make art (and money…let’s not forget money), it’s inspiring. The films themselves are just ok, but the process by which they are made is cool as hell.
5) Nightshades — can’t imagine cooking without tomatoes, peppers, and especially potatoes. Irishness will out. My craving for potatoes was so strong when I was pregnant that my friends jokingly nicknamed my baby Spud.
6) NikePlus — I love my NikePlus running monitor/iPod combination. The monitor tracks the number of miles you travel, the pace you’re traveling, the average pace for the workout, the number of calories you burn…it graphs the whole thing on your computer, it saves the records so you can refer back to them, and it allows you to see how you’re doing over a week, month, or longer. The challenge feature and goal setting good for motivating me when I’m feeling draggy or unwilling to put on my shoes and get out the door. I got mine for Christmas and for a while it looked like I would not use it (too nice a gift), but I finally convinced myself that it would be stupid to let it sit on the shelf. Now I love it.
7) Narcissus — My mom used to grow these in with her daffodils and I was allowed to pick as many as I wanted for that brief week or two that they were in bloom. Later, I found out that they were the flower for the month of December (my birth month) and that people force-bloomed them indoors in pots. I think the shape of the inner cup of yellow is cool and I especially like the reddish-orange line of filigree that edges it.
8) Northern Spy apples. Actually, I like pretty much any kind of apple (Honeycrisp is my current favorite), but I like Northern Spy because they are good for pies and sauces and canning.
9) Nutmeg — I like scenting things with nutmeg and one of my first foo-foo purchases when I moved out on my own was a tiny little nutmeg plane (which I then wouldn’t use because…you guessed it, it was just too nice). Unfortunately, as I’ve gotten older, nutmeg makes my mouth go numb, so I don’t use it as a flavoring much any more. Still like the smell, though.
10) NYC art museums — I’d be hard pressed to pick a favorite. I feel most comfortable in the Met and could easily spend long dreamy days there just considering. It reminds me of my home art museum (the Cleveland…yes, I am going to go to Cleveland in mid-July to see the renovations and they damn well better be finished!) and there’s something wonderful about having the leisure to just be and think that such a place signifies. My mom is visiting in a few weeks and she’s finally going to get her trip to NYC. I’m hoping that we can go to see Billy Elliott or South Pacific, ride her around in a carriage in Central Park, and go to the Met.
Whew. That was surprisingly difficult. Whatever way I organize my ideas about favorite things, suffice to say it’s not alphabetical.
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