Tuesday, March 8, 2016

What you C is what you get, the beginning.


This is the C list, a list of my 5 favorite things that begin with the letter C. There are many wonderful things that begin with the letter C. And I'm going to talk about a few of them.

Since one of my goals is to make smaller, more manageable posts--less novellas & shorter, though still entertaining prose--I shall break this letter C post into two parts. I'm posting the first part today, & I'm sharing the rest later on in the week. I may also change a few of the things on the list, but for the most part, I'm happy with what I got. So here we go, the first part of the five wonderful things that begin with the letter C.

If you're a longtime Infomaniac reader, no doubt the first C word that comes to mind is C U Next Tuesday, courtesy of the late & great Piggy, fondly remembered by his many friends & those who got to meet him via the awesome blogging community. And what a wonderful community bloggers make!

We are many individuals whose interactions & support make us a diverse, rich, & lively virtual village, one that flourishes together & helps each other during times of crisis. Community is a wonderful word that begins with C, as do Cooperation, Camaraderie, & the occasional Competitions & Contests that make the blogging community fun. Whether it be tinfoil hats or green elf shorts, or simple caption games, the members of this brilliant blogging community share their creativity & wit & talents in the most surprising, enjoyable, & fantastic ways.

Cosmos is an amazing word that begins with the letter C. And what a spectacular wonder the cosmos is! I love learning about the world all around us. Stars, galaxies, nebulae, and so many other astonishing wonders. I have spent entire nights on beaches & wilderness just staring up at the starry skies, marveling at the wonders of the universe. It's pretty amazing & humbling to realize that we are all made of stars, & when we pass on, we become stars once more.

It is mindboggling to realize that some of the stars we're looking at no longer exist, & what we are seeing are their bright lights finally reaching earth after travelling vast distances in the darkness of space. And if you stare at night skies long enough, you are bound to see meteors & you'll make wishes on those shooting stars. I love looking at the cosmos. It is a joy & wonder & humbling experience, beautiful & mesmerizing each & every time. I love the cosmos. I also like it as a drink.

When I want a cocktail--another great word that begins with C--I keep it simple with my fave way to enjoy vodka, a screwdriver:

1 part vodka + 2 parts orange juice. Sip & enjoy, preferably on a lounge chair by the pool, on the beach, or in an imaginary tropical paradise escape. Do not chug & pace yourself; too much too soon & you'll pass out.

And if I really want to take my tropical paradise escape fantasy/party to the next level, it's Mai Tais & my other favorite vodka cocktail, the Cosmos (Cosmopolitan):

2 ounces vodka + 1 ounce Triple Sec or Cointreau + 1 ounce cranberry juice + 1 ounce lime juice. Add more cranberry juice or simple syrup if you want it sweeter. Garnish with orange peel. Same warning as screwdriver. Sip, enjoy, pace yourself.

Yes, I know those sluts/whores from Sex & the City used the Cosmos as their signature drink, but I don't give a damn. It's a damn good drink! I was enjoying Cosmos & Screwdrivers long before I ever saw an episode of Sex & the City.

Hell, I was enjoying cocktails long before I was legally allowed to partake in them. It comes from having wonderful friends who're kind of wild, & possibly bad, if not reckless, & liberating influence. And life has been so much more fun & awesome with those kind of fantastic people & exciting experiences.

You what else was full of fun people & great experiences? Visiting places like California; Chicago, Illinois; Charleston, South Carolina; seeing camels & pyramids in Cairo, Egypt; & cruising the Caribbean & enjoying Cozumel, Mexico. Those places were/are awesome!

I'd like to add to my travel wish/to do list: Canada, Chile, China, the Canary Islands, Costa Rica, & the other continents. Also, I'd like to see Caledonia--Scotland--& New Caledonia in the South Pacific, home of quite possibly the smartest bird/animal in the world, the New Caledonian crow, which creates & uses tools & solves problems & teaches knowledge to the other crows!

Truly, there are many marvelous things that begin with the letter C. And it's taken me a little while to sort them them out, as it usually does when making a list of one's favorite things that begin with that letter. But I finally narrowed it down to the top five, so here they are, two of the five most cherished things that begin with the letter C:

1. Comfort is a wonderful thing that begins with the letter C. Comfort means many things. It means feeling safe & feeling at home. It is sanctuary from the chaotic & rough world. It is a place & space to relax, recharge, & renew one's body, strength, spirit, & mind. Comfort calms the body & cherishes the soul.

Comfort also means the little things that make you feel good. And that means literally, my favorite comforter during the cool season, covering me with warmth & softness, helping me fall asleep on the coldest of nights.

Comfort also means food, food that fuels the body & nourishes the spirit. It also means food that just tastes good & makes you feel good, because they bring to mind good memories & good feelings. My comfort snacks are the big five with the letter C: Cookies, cupcakes, candy, chips, and ice cream. Yes, ice cream begins with I, but it does have delicious cream in its name, so I'm including it here.

My fave cookies are chocolate chip & plain old vanilla sandwich cookies. Perfect for dunking in milk, hot chocolate, coffee, or tea, & especially milkshakes! Also, cookies are great for crumbling in or using to make ice cream sandwiches. And I love the sweet scent of cookies baking in the oven!

My favorite cupcakes are usually the smaller versions of my favorite cakes: Carrot cake, pound cake, fruitcake, strawberry shortcake, & blueberry cake. The most work yet totally spectacular cupcakes would be the pineapple upside down cupcakes, because everything is pared down to scale, & sometimes, I've had to buy pineapple disks/skinned/whole, & cut my own pineapple rings using cookie/pastry cutter rings to get the right size to fit in the cupcake pan. Or just buy the can of rings, cut rings into four pieces, & use two pieces to encircle a cherry in the bottom of a greased, brown sugared & melted butter mix cupcake pan.

When it comes to candy, my fave has to have chocolate & nuts & crunch. Surprisingly, my favorite nowadays is the Almond Joy chocolate almond coconut candy bar. I used to hate this candy as a kid, because I didn't like coconut covered in chocolate. It was just too weird for me! I preferred coconut either in savory dishes, or if it was to be sweet, I'd rather it be caramelized or toasted or baked into pastry. But never covered in chocolate; that just seemed & tasted wrong to me. Now, I can't seem to get enough of the stuff. Somewhere in my adulthood, I began to like coconut, almonds, & chocolate bars enough to make them be counted among my favorite candy bars: Kit Kat, Twix, Milky Way, & Chico stick.

Chips, specifically potato chips, are my weakness. I can eat a whole bag/can in one sitting (& I've done it many times before!). My top flavors are BBQ, ranch, nachos, sour cream & onion, & cheese. I also love me some corn chips! You want to woo me or bribe me, forget sweets, buy me chips! I luv chips by themselves, dipped into great dips, as a crunchy topping in sandwiches & burgers & hot dogs; on top of casseroles & meatloaves. I also love them in salads! Chips are awesome, & I'm addicted to them.

Ice cream is a wonderful dessert! Like chips, I've had whole meals consisting of nothing but ice cream! And I love the frozen custard variety! My favorite flavor is vanilla. I also love Neapolitan (the vanilla, chocolate, strawberry combo), pistachio, & cookies & cream. I have an on again, off again love affair with rocky road; sometimes, I love it, but other times, it's too much marshmallows & not enough nuts for me. Sometimes, I like to top off my cup of hot chocolate, tea, or coffee with a scoop of vanilla ice cream--definitely richer than using cream or milk. Sometimes, I like my ice cream to melt halfway, so I can mix it into a delicious milkshake. I rarely use toppings on my ice cream. I might use the occasional chocolate syrup & some nuts. But I'm more likely to indulge in another guilty pleasure, & top my ice cream with crunchy corn chips or nacho chips. Yes, I've used corn chips & nacho chips as ice cream toppings, & they were great!

You know what else I consider comfort food? Cheese, crackers, cornbread, chili, chicken--especially fried chicken! My favorite way to enjoy cheese is to have a piece of it over a cracker with a slice of tomato & cucumber. My favorite way to enjoy crackers is to butter them then dip them into hot tea or coffee. My favorite food to pair with chili is cornbread, & where I come from & where I live, cornbread is sweet, like a muffin, perfect to balance a mild/medium hot bowl of delicious chili. And I love fried chicken, the ultimate comfort food that definitely reminds me of home & good times to be shared with friends & loved ones.

Comfort is an essential thing. It is one of the best things in life. It reminds us of the good times & keeps us renewed & feeling safe. It is a safe port during storms, a sanctuary in troubled times, and a reason to stop & enjoy life, & be reminded of the wonders in the world & to take time to appreciate life, loved ones, & friends.

2. Curiosity

Curiosity is a wonderful thing. I thirst for knowledge & new experiences. It makes life richer & more exciting. I've always been a curious kid, wondering why things were the way they where, driving my mother & older siblings crazy with questions about why come we gotta do things a certain way, and why some things (& some people) be the way they are. On good days, I'd get an explanation, or a plain 'I don't know' or 'That's just the way it is'. Other days, it was the more frustrating 'Hush now!' & 'Quit asking so many questions!', usually followed by threat of bodily harm from a pissed off older sibling, annoyed at my constant pestering.

I couldn't help it. I was born curious & I had a hankering for adventure & exploring, which was perfect because my two closest brothers--one a year older, the other a year younger--loved exploring & going on adventures with me. We weren't afraid to climb tall trees & venture into the wild woods & mountains that surrounded our farm. We scaled small hills & figured out how to clamber up a tree & make our way to the roof of the barn. We even took on dangerous missions, where we deliberately snuck into our older siblings rooms & rifled through their stuff.

Most times, we were able to get away without getting caught, & the few times our elder brothers caught us, the three of us were able to make it to safe territory--Mom, who protected us from threats of getting beat up from our angry older brothers. Mom did not like her bigger boys beating up her little ones, & that commandment was always honored & held true, so long as the three of us remained with Mom for the rest of the day & avoided the wrath of the mad older brothers.

Unfortunately, the same could not be said of older sisters. Sure, they wouldn't dare hit us when we ran to & stuck close to Mom, but older sisters can be mean & hold grudges. While most times, our elder brothers anger would pass after a few hours or be gone the next day, our sisters held on to vengeance long into the next week, attacking us when we least expected it, when Mom wasn't nearby.

Once, the three of us pretended to be pirates, put on our sisters silk & satin scarves like headbands & belts & pretended to be pirates. What really pissed our older sisters off was that we took their jewelry box & buried it in the backyard like pirate treasure. You would think they would've been proud of our imagination & emerging map drawing skills. But no, they were really angry when they found us crawling in the dirt with their scraves & then discovering what we did with their jewelry box.

That day, we were fortunate enough that Mom heard us screaming when our older sisters grabbed us & threatened to beat us. She mediated a peaceful solution, where by we put the dirty scarves into the dirty laundry pile & dug up the buried jewelry box & tried to clean off as much dirt as we could, then returned it to the angry sisters.

You would think that would be the end of the matter, as did we. But you'd be wrong, & so were we. For the rest of the week, our older sisters kept hitting us at random--a punch on the arm here, a smack on the tush there, or a knock with their knuckles on our heads here & there, all accompanied by threats of more painful bodily harm if the three of us ever dared to venture into their rooms again & messed with their stuff. And for most of the week, we stuck close to Mom to avoid the guerrilla warfare our mean sisters were waging on us. It was an awful week, & it hurt a lot!

Finally, near the end of the week, we figured out how to put a stop to our sisters vengeance. We made a plan. The next time our sisters hit us, my year older brother went screaming for my Mom while my youngest brother started wailing & holding his arm limp while I screamed & covered my left eye, making sure to rub it really hard to make it look red & injured.

My mother came rushing in demanding to know what happened while my older sisters stood there in shock. My older brother explained that my sisters punched my baby brother's arm hard & they poked at my eye! Actually they smacked me in the face, like they've done all week, but I managed to fake that they poked my eye in the process.

My alarmed mother, reached for my head, whispered soothing words, & coaxed me to reveal my eye, which by now was red & looked smooshed from my rubbing hard on it. She let out a gasp, led me to the kitchen sink, then got a glass of clean water to gently rinse out my eye. Now that part hurt! But it was worth it! Then she put some eye drops into my eye & had me lay down to rest.

Then she comforted my baby brother who was still sobbing & gently looked over his arm. When she was satisfied that nothing was broken other than a little redness (from holding his own arm tight), my mother decided to mete out punishment to my older sisters for hurting her babies.

She was angry that my sisters had been hitting us all week, & she was really angry that the two of us young'uns seemed really hurt. So she asked my brother to fetch a switch, & he gleefully got a young, flexible branch, which was sure to sting! And each of my sisters got a scolding & a whack on each palm for beating us up.

My mother rarely used corporal punishment, but when she did, it was usually for a serious offense, like the time one of my older brothers tried to sneak out for a joyride with friends, taking the truck without asking, & getting caught when he tried to sneak back before dawn, only to miscalculate a turn in the dark and run over the garbage can, waking up Mom, getting him caught. So it was a spanking for him, too!

Suffice to say, our sisters ceased & desisted beating us up. Our plan had worked! The three of us were free to roam again once more without the threat of violence from the older sisters. We had learned our lesson. And within a month, we were back to exploring the wild places & sneaking once more into our older siblings rooms. Only this time we were smarter. We had learned not to get caught.

It was survival of the fittest. We weren't as big nor powerful as our older siblings, who liked to beat us up because they were horrible, moody teenagers or we were brats who provoked them. The three of us had to be faster & smarter if we were to survive the tyranny of elder siblings & the wrath of the older ones when we pestered them, as little siblings often do to older ones. Such is life in a big family. There will be conflict & there will be some serious growing pains. But what does not kill us makes us stronger. And my two brothers & I are so much stronger (& closer) for surviving & thriving in those experiences.

Eventually, our older siblings had other seemingly more important things to worry about & ignored us all together. Though, they still occasionally hit us every now & then when we pissed them off. But we had grown smarter & avoided the wrath of the elder siblings & had developed other interests of our own. And those pretend skills we had developed would soon blossom into full acting skills that would serve the three of us well once we were deemed old enough & forced to participate in church plays--a most trying & wasteful time in our lives that seriously cut into our exploring & adventure time!

As we grew older, we started exploring different things. My older brother was exploring his expanding role as a leader among his peers, while my baby brother started to explore mechanics & electronics; I was still climbing mountains & the wild places by myself, & eventually started journeys on my own.

It what I still love to do to this day, explore & discover new places & wild spaces, be they far from civilization or in totally foreign lands. Curiosity has led me to snow capped mountains & fields of snow; vast seas of sage & brush & sand and salt flats as far as the eye can see; rolling hills of green grass & massive forests & endless woodlands that cover the horizon; soft sands on the edge of an endless ocean, bordering a beautiful sky adorned with a heavenly jewels that sparkle, shine, & change with passing of time.

Sunrise over the beach & ocean
Curiosity has taken me to foreign lands where I've met different people & enjoyed exotic foods & culture. I've been in big cities where skyscrapers glitter in the sun like metallic mountains; & trains are long rivers coursing through the urban landscape, carrying & connecting people in the wide concrete & industrial places. I've seen tiny islands of paradise, with fragrant blossoms, magic, marvels, & beauty all their own.


Monument Valley, Arizona, US by Michele Falzone
I've seen hues of red rocks & sandstone cliffs & canyons, rugged & jagged, spectacular in the changing light. And I've been to places of darkness beyond the reach of industry, where the lack of electricity make for truly dark nights, when clear skies light up with celestial bodies, where stars & planets shine & shimmer so bright, and the wonders of the cosmos dance & glimmer throughout the magical, magnificent, ethereal night.

It's kind of ironic, how when I was younger & first learned of far off places & big cities, that I couldn't wait to run off & explore & experience those seemingly exciting far off lands & civilization. Nowadays, I crave the the remote & wild places that I left behind when I left home, & I find myself enjoying adventures in the exotic wilderness & remote spaces so similar to place that I once called home.

Growing up on the remote coast in the middle of nowhere, I was restless & longed for adventures in far off places. Now I'm just as comfortable in the wilderness & remote exotic spaces just as I'm comfortable to call big cities & civilization home. And in all my exploring & adventures, I've finally realized that home isn't a place, it's a feeling; it's where the heart is, where one finds love & happiness. It isn't a location, it's the people & memories & feelings of those spaces, it's the friends & loved ones & sense of happiness that make a place into a home.

I'm still a curious kid, & I'm an avid reader of many topics that interest me-- from art & architecture to science to people to imagination to culture to history to technology and so much more. I like being curious, because it has led me to interesting places & amazing experiences, & has led me to make new wonderful friends. I like learning & experiencing new things. And even the worst explorations yield important knowledge on how to do things better, how to make things right.

Curiosity is a wonderful thing. It drives us to explore & try out new things. It makes life more interesting & exciting. Curiosity makes us all better people & helps us live life to the fullest & enjoy life as best we can.

And that's it for now, two of my five favorite things that begin with the letter C. I'll post the last three later on in the week. C you then, & cherish every day you're alive, because it's a chance to do the things that make you happy & be with the people you love.

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12 comments:

  1. I am a younger sibling.... you learn how to be sneaky!
    And YAY!!! for Infomaniac!!
    SX

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    Replies
    1. Scarlet, Learning how to be sneaky is a vital skill all younger siblings must master if they are to survive the tyranny and wrath of older siblings!

      And Yay for Infomaniac readers!

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  2. Older sibling here. So watch it!

    My addition to the Chips list: Cheetos®! Orange-stained fingers and all.

    PS: I am here for the content, regardless of length.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LX, It's funny that of all our elder siblings, only my eldest sister was nice & kind to us youngest ones. And to this day, she is still the nicest & most caring one, so naturally, she is still our favorite sibling for the three of us youngest. She was never mean to us & she always looked out for us--still does. Out of all of us, she's the one who closely resembles the best qualities of our parents.

      I love Cheetos & cheesy snacks! They fall under the chips & cheese categories for me! And I've had entire meals of just a bag/can of cheesy snacks! Because they are delicious!

      Thanks for the compliment! I'm usually succinct & focused at work, but here, I tend to ramble & just go all over the place, but I admit, it's hard to be brief when there is so much you want say, & it's fun to just let it go & see what happens.

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  3. Mmmm... Because of this, I'm going to give in the subConsciouses and have Comfort food for breakfast!

    And also make some Cakes.


    Oh, no! We mentioned CAKE! The Very Mistress MJ is going to make us regret it...

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    Replies
    1. IDV, Hooray for comfort food for breakfast & for delicious cake! Sometimes, you just have to have comfort food & enjoy life.

      Thankfully, I'm very good at compartmentalizing & utilizing isolation of affect to deal with traumatic experiences, so I can still enjoy cake.

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  4. Thank you for not mentioning Cro**.

    Unless that is in your “to come” list.

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    1. MJ, Rest assured that only time I would ever mention Crocs is if I'm referring to the predatory swamp/river/water reptiles or I'm talking about my Crockpot, though I usually refer to it as a slow cooker, as I've learned that my Hamilton Beach model is much more effective than my Crockpot one.

      Delete
    2. Eeek! You just said the "C" word!

      *calms self*

      I, too, was born curious, curiously enough. I'm grateful that I had a mother who was the same way and encouraged me.

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    3. A cheer to awesome Moms, for loving us, guiding us, & encouraging us to be the best we can be!

      Curiosity is a great trait!

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