A Architecture, but not in any academic-way. I’m talking about charming houses that look like they’ve come from a fairy tale or a brick building that looks like it was just flown over from a European city.
B Brownies, books, and blended mochas. Enjoyed together, they are the ingredients for some delightful Wendy-time.
C Candles. There’s something soothing and calming about candlelight. As an added bonus, candles can make my bedroom smell like chocolate, lavender, or fresh berries.
D Decadent chocolate - the kind that provide my daily caloric intake. I know emotions aren’t supposed to be tied to food, but what is “supposed to be” and what happens aren’t always the same. A triple chocolate chunk cookie can make me happy. A mini-chocolate bundt cake can bring a smile to my face. A heavenly chocolate souffle is bliss.
E Earrings. When I was younger, my earrings were housed in ice cube trays. Now, my collection has grown, so they are kept in an enclosed earring box - complete with mirror. My earrings change daily to match my outfit.
F Flowers - on our patio, on my dining table, pressed into a book. Paintings of sunflowers adorn the walls in our kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. Flowers make life prettier.
G Green open spaces. Nothing quite compares to a picnic in the park, an hour spent writing or reading, or walking or talking in a lush garden-setting.
H Home. Our first home was an apartment located on the tenth floor in a twelve-floor building. I loved the view, but I wanted a “house” - a place where mail was delivered through the little slot on my front door, a place where going outside did not require waiting for an elevator, a place that had two stories of our own. Our home is a rental, but it is our home. Our sanctuary.
I Ice cream. Some days (or nights) a bowl of ice cream is the escape I need. I don’t meditate or practice yoga. But I do make myself sit down to enjoy a bowl of chocolate ice cream topped with chocolate chips and chocolate syrup. It’s my own personal time-out.
J June. For a teacher, June represents the finish line; I’ve earned another notch in my belt. I made it; I survived a school year, and now will be able to re-acquaint myself with some leisure time.
K Keepsakes. Pictures, fortunes from long-ago meals, notes written on napkins. Receipts from Paris. Notes and cards. They touch my soul, bring warmth and light and happiness.
L Lotion, bubble bath, and me. Nothing quite pampers me like a soak in the bathtub. And although I thoroughly enjoy taking a bath, I usually opt for the quick shower. But when I do allow myself a soak - it’s a heavenly hour spent in fragrances that smell fruity or floral and caress my skin.
M Moon. I know it’s always there, even when I can’t see it. Sometimes it surprises me, making an appearance during the day. Other times, it illuminates the front lawn at night. Either way, the moon is mystical and magical. The moon is reassuring; it’s there, will always be there, and even when it disappears, it will come back.
N Notes, as in the hand-written variety that express a heartfelt sentiment. “Thank you.” “I love you.” “You’re special.” Nothing quite compares to receiving a note someone has written to me. A note that I may keep and hold on to, re-open and re-read when I need encouragement or support or a virtual pat-on-the-back, don’t-give-up.
O Ocean. Maybe it’s because I’m a Pisces, but I strongly react to being near the ocean. I feel more peaceful, more content, more serene. I’m hopeful that things will work out. I breathe in and out deeper.
P Patio. It’s my favorite place at home. A glider. A patio table adorned with candles and artificial tulips in a pink vase. Wind chimes, impatiens, a dolphin mobile.
Q Quality time with my husband. We are full-time working parents of a toddler. Life is busy. However, my husband and I made the mistake of losing “us” - the “us” that was responsible for the child we created. Now, we acknowledge the need for quality time, and we take it. We have dates - whether it be a slow dance in our living room after our son is in bed, watching an episode of “The Cosby Show” while we lie in bed, or going out for dinner.
R Ryan. Becoming a mother was a very conscious decision. Becoming a mother is the highest honor, the most rewarding experience I have ever known.
S Squish. It’s the “wrestling” game my son and I play. Sometimes, it’s more wrestle, other times it’s more tickle. But, either way, it’s him and me, close and cuddly, laughing and playing.
T Temperate weather. I am a native-Los Angeles girl. Blue skies, bright sun, mild breeze - January, April, or October. My favorite weather is mild and calm and beckons me outdoors.
U Unpredictable occurrences. The appearance of a rainbow, the sight of a butterfly. I consider them gifts from above, little surprises to make me stop and take notice, smile and be happy.
V Value. I have learned from my mom - shopping with coupons makes sense. Shopping and finding a great value, coming home with a bargain does give a different high to a shopping experience than merely purchasing an item.
W Writing. I’ve wanted to be a writer since second-grade, when Mrs. Jones made me a “book” complete with a yellow construction paper cover and included the “good” paper inside.
X X’s and O’s. Sometimes, all I need is a hug. A full-on hug where my husband’s arms envelope me. I’m safe, and the scary things will be kept at bay. As a mommy, I know there’s a small window of opportunity I have to kiss my son on his toes, his tushie, and his tummy.
Y Yearly celebrations. The house takes on a different look when the yearly decorations comes out - autumn leaves draped around the banister, pinecones in a vase on the table for winter, birthday banners and balloons for my son’s birthday.
Z Zany laughter - the kind that makes you hiccup and cry and grab your sides. Zany laughter from something silly, like watching Sandra Bullock’s character fall in the giant hole in the movie All About Steve.