Thursday, July 19, 2012

What I Love Now

I have been on vacation, unplugged and enjoying a wonderful family reunion in San Francisco.

3 generations exhausted after a bike ride across the Golden Gate Bridge

Just before we left town, we read a commentary in our local Ventura County Star by Woody Woodburn.

Time spent with my family made me think about Woody's commentary which I had saved.

It brought tears to our eyes as we read it.

Appreciating What You Will Miss
by Woody Woodburn.

My kids. Nick. Spring. Fall. Waffles. The concept of waffles. Bacon.
These are the first few things writer-filmmaker Nora Ephron listed in her short essay titled "What I Will Miss" in her most-recent book "I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections."
A walk in the park. The idea of a walk in the park. The park. Shakespeare in the Park. The bed. Reading in bed.
It is a superb essay, like all of Ephron's writing, but when I read it — not in bed, for I am not an in-bed reader — I remember thinking it seemed out of place; she was too young; this was an essay for a future book.
Fireworks. Laughs. The view out the window. Twinkle lights. Butter. Dinner at home just the two of us. Dinner with friends. Dinner with friends in cities where none of us lives.
I had missed the clues that seem so obvious now: the essay "What I Won't Miss" ("Dry skin. Email. Funerals. Small print. Email. I know I already said it, but I want to emphasize it.") on the two previous pages; and the acknowledgments page that concluded, "And also, of course, my doctors."
Like the great writer she was, Ephron had told us without telling us.
Paris. Next year in Istanbul. "Pride and Prejudice." The Christmas tree. Thanksgiving dinner. One for the table. The dogwood. Taking a bath. Coming over the bridge to Manhattan. Pie.
She, of course, knew then what we know now. She was battling leukemia. A battle she lost Tuesday at age 71.
Here is what I hope, that Ephron wrote "What I Will Miss" long before she became ill — but under a different title, such as perhaps "What I Love Now." Such a list is something we should all write, right now, whatever our age, to help us more fully appreciate and enjoy these things today.
Here, off the top of my head, is my working list of "What I Love Now" — I hope you will take some time to start your own. Here goes:
My kids. My wife. Pop and family and great friends — and Murray, our boxer, who is both.
The beach. The ocean. "The Old Man and the Sea."
The Ventura Pier. The Channel Islands. A Pacific sunset with a few clouds on the horizon that explode in flames of color.
Yosemite Falls. Niagara Falls. The fall colors.
Summer. Daylight saving time. Watching fireworks on the Fourth of July.
The smell of sunscreen, the smell in the air after a rain, the smell of Thanksgiving all afternoon long.
Fleetwood Mac. The Beatles. The Who. James Taylor.
Running along the beach, any beach, in a park, especially New York's Central Park, in the sun, in the rain, in a road race and the adventures of running in a new place.
"The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." "To Kill a Mocking Bird." "Once a Runner." Any really good read and this definitely includes the new page-turning novel "Fog" by Venturan Ken McAlpine.
A hot shower. A warm bed. A cold pint. Not in that order.
The last moments awake in bed after a long, full day. Even better with the sound of rain on the roof.
The sound of Vin Scully on the radio.
Date nights. Van Gogh's Starry Night. The tiger painting, among others, by my son.
Visiting my daughter at Purdue and her texts, emails, phone calls and trips home.
John Wooden's "Pyramid of Success" and my favorite "Woodenism": "Make each day your masterpiece."
The simple grace and quiet strength of trees and rivers — and some people. People who have empathy and authenticity. Curious people who never stop learning.
The Internet.
Chocolate-chip ice cream. Chocolate-chip cookies. Chocolate chips.
Finishing writing something that I feel is as good as I can do.
Movies, which for this list today seems fitting to pick three by Nora Ephron, even though I get them confused: "When Harry Met Sally," "Sleepless in Seattle" and "You've Got Mail."And yes, waffles over pancakes, definitely.
My kids. Lisa. I know I already said this, but I want to emphasize it.

And so, at Woody's suggestion, I begin my own list.

Walking on the beach. In the morning.  On warm summer days.  At night as the sun sets.

"Doggie Playgroup" and an incredible sunset

Finding shells and sea glass. And, perfect little sand dollars.

Found a sea urchin for the first time this morning

Time with my family - kayaking, cycling, skiing, talking, laughing...

7 people...7 bikes...1 bridge...priceless

Riding the ferry to San Francisco

My cottage.  Decorating my cottage.  Thinking about decorating my cottage.  Looking at books for ideas for decorating my cottage.

My garden.

Working in my garden.

Reading in my garden.

 Eating dinner in the my garden on a warm summer evening.

Enough for now.

 My list will be a work in progress-

as I continually count my blessings for a wonderful life.


  1. Aww Carol~this is beautiful~I need to start my own are so right! Thank you for sharing what you love~we are blessed!

  2. Beautiful post Carol - I love both Woody's list and your own - I think everyone should write one, to focus on the positive's instead of the negatives.
    I definitely should start my own !

  3. this is a wonderful post, carol:) i know my list will be a long one! happy weekend!

  4. Wonderful post. I think losing my mom last year made me even more thankful for those little things I love.