I have been tagged by my wonderful friend, Kamga Tchassa, to write a list of things, people and activities that I love. This is hardly a hardship, since I love a great deal of things and people. Honestly, it was difficult to stop at just 40.
1. My husband, Jeff, who is my best friend, excellent editor and all-around good guy who still makes me catch my breath when he walks into a room (even after more than 25 years of marriage).
2. Riva and Sam, my kids who are a constant source of amusement, exasperation, and affection.
4. Writing. I love to write, but I put reading higher on the list because I love reading just a titch more.
5. My parents. I owe my parents more than I can ever repay; I owe them for saving my soul for leaving the Soviet Union.
6. Amy Lee Tucker, a sister-in-law who is more like a sister in every sense - Amy makes me feel supremely lucky that I know her.
7. Glenn Lloyd Tucker, a brother-in-law who also happens to be funny, smart and sweet.
8. Brenda Colvin, my mother-in-law. If everyone's mothers-in-law were like Brenda, there would be no mother-in-law jokes. Ever.
10. My friends, Caroline, Reverie, Hope, Kate, Dorothy, Rochelle & John, Libby, Kina, Leslye, Deidre, Jessica, Jules and Sara. They know who they are, but I don't mind saying that I love them out loud. I love spending time with you, or even just texting with you, and sharing a meal with each of you is one of the greatest pleasures of my life.
11. Traveling. I honestly wish I had two lifetimes - one to spend at home and one to travel.
12. TV. That's right, I can admit it, I love watching shows and movies at home, with or without food, with or without knitting.
13. Lunch all by myself. There are very few things I enjoy more than reading a good mystery while chowing down. Except having lunch with loved ones.
14. Sherlock Holmes. I know he's a fictional character, but he is so real to me, and I feel so strongly about him, that he definitely goes on this list. There are other fictional characters I adore, like Spenser (for hire) and V.I. Warshawski, but if I start naming them, I'm going to quickly run out of space.
15. Slobbery doggie kisses. My two dogs, Toffee and Bella, are affectionate and sweet - to us. But really, in a pinch, any doggo will do, anytime, anywhere.
16. Sweet Moscato D'Asti wine. It's light, effervescent and, usually, light in alcohol content. It's also ridiculously affordable - another plus.
17. The smell and sound of rain. I know, I know, I live in the "wrong" state, we do not get enough precipitation. Sigh.
18. The smell of coffee. Why does it have to taste so bitter?
19. Laminated postcards. Anyone who travels anywhere is always asked to bring me back a postcard, which I will then laminate and use as a bookmark. That way, if I am reading a mystery that is set in San Francisco, I use one of the postcards, and I am transported there instantly, the moment I open a book up.
20. Brand new notebooks/journals. There is magic in starting a brand new notebook and a pleasure to select one that is just right or get one as a gift (thank you, again, Caroline).
21. Eight hours of sleep. It is obscene, how much I love sleep, and wrong that I go to bed way too late.
22. The crackle of an actual fire, whether it's a driftwood campfire or in a fireplace.
23. The sound of a train whistle in the distance, at night.
24. Lighthouses. C'mon, everyone loves lighthouses!
25. Amish buggies. Maybe it's because I don't live near any Amish community, and therefore see them... well, I've only seen them once, when I was visiting Pennsylvania, but they are absolutely quintessential.
26. Purses. Handbags. Briefcases.
27. Competence. I love feeling it, which is a rare feeling for me, and I enjoy seeing it from others. People who know what they are doing, and they do it well - it's a beautiful thing to watch.
28. Snorkeling. Even saying the word is fun.
29. Amaretto liquor. Although I love booze, and mixed drinks especially, Amaretto, to me, is one of the greatest tastes.
30. Leonard Cohen’s music, but specifically, lyrics. More specifically, his later stuff, for me, is nearly hypnotic, as someone else described his voice being “deeper than the Marianas Trench,” that smoked through-and-through and whiskey-infused baritone.
31. Dark chocolate, about 65 - 70 percent. I like to refrigerate it, then let a piece melt in my mouth.
32. Classical music, Mozart, Vivaldi, Beethoven, Bach, Tchaikovsky. Rarified air.
33. The Beatles. Enough said. Followed closely by The Who, The Stones, and the rest of the classic rock. Then the music of my youth - 80's music.
34. For cold nights – thick chili with chunks of crusty bread.
35. Spun and blown glass art.
36. Pecan pie wedges with dollops of whipped cream on top.
38. Tree houses.
39. Sand dollars. Really, most shells. Living in a land-locked state has its disadvantages.
40. The feel and smell of new sheets that were dried outside.
So this is the list of some of the people, things and activities that bring me joy. I would love to see lists from Hawkeye Pete Egan B., Jon Scott, Beyond Satire, Karthik Rajan, Joe Varadi, Candace Faber, Scott Carnahan, Mark Starlin, Andi Lutz, Annabella Cornelly, Nick Matthews and Elle Fredine. These are just some of my favorite writers on Medium, although I couldn’t possibly (for lack of space) name ALL of the writers I admire and enjoy - #41.