Word-nerd that I am, I have never been an athlete or a super-achiever in physical endeavors. My interests have always run to intellectual and academic, and often sedentary, pursuits. So I don't expect any offers to make this list into a movie - there's not a car chase or a shooting any where in it. However, here are 13 things that I enjoy.
1....Listening to children talk and noticing their word-usage. What adults often find amusing about their speech often shows thorough understanding of correct English syntax. For example, when a child says, "I runned fast", she/he demonstrates an understanding of the fact that the past tense of a verb is regularly formed by adding -ed to the present tense. By the age of two or so, most kids have already learned that English grammar fact!
2....Observing misuses of language by educated adults. I'm not making fun of anybody here; it is just interesting to me. Often the misuse is deliberate -- I have done this myself. In an effort not to sound "stuffy", we sometimes use incorrect grammar even though we know the correct usage. For example, I would almost certainly say "It could be me" instead of "It could be I" just because the nominative pronoun (which is correct) sounds so pretentious.
3....Learning new words. I subscribe to two word of the day emails and one Spanish word of the day list. When I come across a word that I do not know, it is worth the trouble to me to look it up. I believe that my vocabulary has shrunk from lack of exercise in the last few years, but I still value knowing the exact words to express a thought. I was amused, and not a little troubled, today when I read an official form distributed and used by our local school system. On this form for travel reimbursement, the items related to food were categorized as "subsistence". Of course, the heading should have been "sustenance." I commented on this to the group of 8 teachers who were with me at the time, and none of them seemed to be aware of the actual meaning of either word - or to care. I was told that the form is an exact duplicate of the state form used for the same purpose.
4....Walking. I enjoy walking, particularly on nature trails. This is especially fun if I am accompanied by one or more of my grandchildren or other close family members. Children seem to notice sounds and speculate about the causes of the sounds; they also appreciate even small wild flowers, clover, and dandelions! They love to pose in front of stumps, on large rocks, or pretending to smell a flower. A short walk with a child can become an adventure.
5....Visiting other countries. I have done much less international travel than I would like. I have only been to a few other countries besides the United States. I have visited almost all of the Caribbean islands, but I have only been to a few European countries: Italy, France, Israel, Malta, and Sicily. I have never been in any Asian country. Other Western countries I have visited include: Mexico, Canada, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Panama, and Venezuela. It is fascinating to me to walk along streets in another country and hear the language being spoken and see the different expectations for behaviors, living conditions, and interactions between people. I especially find it interesting to see that people are generally fiercely patriotic, no matter what country they call home.
6....Cruises. Cruising is the best vacation there is. You settle into a strange room only one time; but you wake up almost every morning in a different country. Usually phone service and internet service is intermittant and/or unavailable or undependable, so there is the sense of relaxation that comes from being out of touch with the concerns of daily life. Having meals and entertainment already determined and paid for eliminates the need for most decision-making. You don't have to forego any activity because of the cost, since everything is included in the original price. There is such a variety of activities available on the ship that each person can do what he/she likes. I can go sit in a lounge, sip a diet coke, and listen to a pianist and people-watch while my husband goes to a movie. I can take line-dance lessons while the rest of our group plays minature golf or sits by the pool. It is relatively safe to come and go by oneself at any time of the day or night.
7. Dance. One of the biggest regrets of my life is that I never have learned to dance. When I was growing up, Christians didn't dance. My husband doesn't dance and has no interest in learning to do so; but I have a stong inner urge and natural inclination to dance when I hear good music. Nevertheless, I "dance" with each of my grandchildren from time to time, and they have learned to put up with it. They all loved to "dance" with me when they were babies. I would hold each one, in his/her turn at infancy, and dance around the room singing "You are so beautiful to me......" A one-year-old Raye once became indignant when I didn't spin around at the part of the song that says "can't you seeeeee.." She looked at me sharply and said, "You forgot "can't you see?'" I quickly learned that the fast spinning on that phrase is the part the babies like the best. Several of the grandchildren have expressed dismay at becoming too big for me to pick up and swing around. They learned to settle for standing on my feet and doing a more sedate version of the dance; and now that they are all too big for that, they just talk about dancing with Gram "when I was a baby." And they laugh, a little self-consciously, when I grab them and get in a few dance steps nowadays.
8. Reading. I enjoy almost any kind of reading. I read self-help books. I read devotional and philosophical material. I enjoy true crime accounts, biographies, and other kinds of non-fiction. I also read fiction of many genres: murder mysteries, police procedurals, legal and political intrigue, general fiction, and light mysteries and romances. About the only kinds of books that I do not enjoy reading are science fiction, fantasy, and "bodice-ripper" helpless-woman romances.
9. Writing. Putting thoughts into words on paper is satisfying and affirming, and the process helps to clarify thoughts and feelings.
10. Organizing. Generally speaking, I like to find order in chaos. I like to take an array of clothes, ideas, papers, thoughts, or whatever and put them into a logical and usable order.
11. Cooking. Ha! Just checking to see if you were still reading! If you have ever read this blog before, you know that one is a lie!
12. Casual sports. As I said earlier, I don't particularly enjoy organized sports. Girls didn't play sports when I was a girl. (I was a cheerleader when cheerleading was actually cheering for somebody ELSE to play a sport. Cheerleading itself was not a sport back in the dark ages.) I do, however, enjoy shooting basketball in the driveway and throwing a football out in the yard.
13. Roller Coasters. I guess a roller coaster satisfies the desire for thrill in a basically risk-free environment. That's my analysis for why this safe-player likes them. I went to Six Flags over Georgia once when it was not very crowded and rode the Mind Bender (the newest ride that year) 6 or 7 times in a row! The feel of the wind in my face at that fast speed is exhilarating. In the same way, I enjoy riding in speed boats, water-skiing, and other similar activities.
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