Saturday, May 9, 2009

11 Everyday Good Things

Little things to be happy about, during this past week:

1. Produce at the Haymarket = nutrition on the cheap:   
    5 Golden Delicious apples: $2
    5 big fat oranges: $2
    2 lbs. seedless grapes: $1
    1 lb. asparagus: $1
    1 head of Boston lettuce, 1 head of romaine: $1.50
    1 carton cherry tomatoes: $1 = $8.50 for a lot of good food
    +  An Anna's burrito for lunch during the walk over there = priceless

2. Gisèle Bündchen pointed out in an interview that the secret of happiness is being grateful. That's the right answer. And she knows she has much to be grateful for. So do I.

3. Those stolen lilacs from the yard of the vacant building across the street were all that could be desired. There's still time to steal a few more.

4. These shoes. So deeply discounted at Anthropologie that I broke down and paid for shipping. (I had a gift card anyhow.) And I can still afford to take them to the shoemaker to soften the leather and put rubber on the soles. They'll look cute with all of my summer skirts, so I may have to forego my flip flops.

5. Lacey's Milk Chocolate and Macadamia Nut Florentine cookies. Eight homestyle ingredients — chocolate, nuts, butter, sugar, cream, honey, vanilla, and flour — and you can taste each one (except the flour). Trader Joe's does it again.  These are as good as homemade, and a lot fancier.

6. Mildred Kalish's memoir, Little Heathens, makes her childhood on an Iowa farm during the Great Depression sound like more fun than Eloise had at the Plaza. For one thing, they didn't dump pints of fresh cream over practically every vegetable dish at the Plaza. Although they should have. It's Little House on the Prairie for grownups.

7. Facebook. I don't care how many people have been slamming it lately — I like it. It keeps me in casual but reasonable contact with a few dozen people whom I sincerely like and find interesting, and whom I would otherwise rarely call or email (if at all). Because I'm an antisocial slug unless the communication process is practically effortless. But I like having this little community around me. 

8. Iggy's Francese loaf. A plentiful square of soft, flavorful sourdough, with an airy yet substantial texture and a chewy crust. We get one every week at the Salumeria Italiana  in the North End. When it starts to get stale, I cube the remaining slices, put them in a baking dish, add a ton of grated cheese, and pour on an egg-and-milk mixture. Then bake it until it's golden and puffy. With a salad, there isn't anything simpler or more satisfying for a quick dinner.

9. Cool, cloudy, rainy days: how I love them. Bright, hot, sunny days require sliming up with sunblock, squinting, sweating. Rainy days give me an excuse to stay indoors, wear a cardigan, and bake Ina Garten's chocolate-chunk cookies (best made with too much of a Trader Joe's Pound-Plus Belgian Milk Chocolate Bar). It's nice to eat them with a good book in the other hand. Rain also keeps the MIT frat boys from hollering bellicosely on our street in the wee hours. It's raining right now.

10.  In Treatment, Season 1. We snarfed all 43 episodes on DVD as fast as we could get 'em. Gripping stories, perfect scripting, universally brilliant acting. Is there any way Gabriel Byrne can be improved upon? No. Is it worth subscribing to HBO to catch Season 2? Perhaps!

11. The many outrageous, unbelievably hideous ensembles worn to the Met Ball.  I love seeing celebrities spend a fortune on outfits that make them look idiotic, if not insane — I can't help myself. The brilliant bloggers of Go Fug Yourself had their work cut out for them last week and I didn't miss a word. They had plenty to say about this, for example:

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