Friday, February 16, 2007

Simple Pleasures

When the dismal grey skies of Paris and my own hormonal, emotional fluctuations run the risk of weighing me down entirely, my mind and my heart have a way of turning to the simplest things to brighten up (and get me through) my day.

Without these little pleasures, sometimes I wonder how I would survive, especially when everything else seems to be going wrong.

I'm reading a book right now that brought these thoughts to mind this morning. It's funny how the vivid descriptions of a well-written book can bring out the best in all of us, perhaps our creative side or simply those things that really make us smile. It doesn't take much after all, does it?

Some of my favorites include: (in no particular order)

  • The gust of fresh air on my face (as fresh as Paris air can be!) during my ten-minute walk down the street from the train station in the morning, as I listen to some of my favorite tunes. That is, unless it's raining, which is often the case...
  • The discovery of a new book or a new album which I know is bound to bring me even more extended pleasure in the weeks to come. My latest addictions: William Boyd and Murakami, Regina Spektor and Kate Havnevik.
  • An ice-cold kir pêche with some salty nibbles in a bar/café after a long day at work. My boyfriend likes to refer to these as des graines -- he often specifically requests them. But I'm not shy about munching on them myself, even though I don't take handfuls at a time like he does!
  • Salted butter and confiture de figues on a fresh, warm baguette on Sunday morning. As a matter of fact, I can't get enough of my entire Sunday late-morning brunch ritual: un oeuf à la coque, fresh bread with salted butter and jam, a pink grapefruit, and a big bowl of coffee. Sometimes I vary with hot chocolate, depending on my mood...
  • Paging through a new magazine, including my cooking faves, or just a mindless American fashion rag.
  • Picking up a bundle of fresh tulips or renoncules, my new favorites, at my local market.
  • The feeling of accomplishment when I actually pull a whole meal together for me and my boy. I can't even imagine what a good feeling it must be to cook for a whole group -- as in anything more than two!
  • The warmth of a brand-new comfy sweater, or the broken-in fuzziness of an old stand-by. Either way, I'm definitely a sweater girl. As much as I like fashion, I'm not about to sacrifice comfort in the winter! So at least I'm not a 100% fashion victim.
  • Rolling over in the bed on a Sunday morning and realizing it's just that -- Sunday! -- and that you have the whole day stretching in front of you. So many possibilities...
  • The lingering presence of my boyfriend's scent in the room, or in my clothes, long after he has gone. (Okay, sappy, but true!)
  • And, to add to that image, just the reassuring feeling I get from exchanging a smile with him and seeing the glint in his blue eyes when we share a really nice moment together.
  • Magret de canard prepared any which way -- with pepper sauce, raspberry or fig sauce, with risotto or pommes de terre sautées... Nothing beats duck in my book!
  • Peaches in the summer, apples fresh off the tree in the fall, citrus in the winter (I've been eating clementines like peanuts), and strawberries in the late spring -- oh, how I've come to love seasonal fruit here in France...
  • A glass of Graves with some dry peppered sausage once again on buttered baguette bread.

Can you tell I'm a bit of a gourmande? Don't ask me to go on a diet... One of these days this is going to catch up with me. And I've really got to get myself into a better exercise routine -- story of my life!

I think my list of simple pleasures is endless. Ask me tomorrow and I'll probably come up with something different. What are some of yours?


jchevais said...

The Belin "Cheezees" that you mentioned on Amy's blog...

I shouldn't have tried them. Sigh.

Finishing a drawing/painting. I don't experience this nearly enough.

A good book. Yum.

Wendz said...

I am just like you....baguette and confit des figues and salty butter....*slobber*

and Sunday morning in bed with a pot of coffee and fresh pain au chocolat...

A really good book ( I just read Paulo de Coelho's 11 minutes - it was excellent...couldn't put it down)

And seeing rainbows..don't know why but they give me such a lift..

Having my shoulders massaged by my sons...and their cuddles..nothing quite like it when you're down..

so many more things too..but I won't hog your comments box.

I will link you right now before I forget and add you to bloglines..

Julia said...

My true happiness comes from simple pleasures, and I just loved reading yours...I share most of them (except for the boy as I'm single, but how I do love the smell of a man, on the pillow, on the towel, his everyday tshirt...)

maitresse said...

oh, this is so good... I'm going to read this whenever I need cheering up (which seems to be quite often these days!).

Thank you for your wonderful comment on my blog. I'd love to catch up for a kir peche one of these days!

Katia said...

OOoh, what a coincidence that we've both written about this... perhaps it's the weather that is pushing us all to reflect on the more important things in life?

I restricted the amount of food-related things that I wrote about, just because I would have looked like a total pig if I had added them ALL ;) hehe.

Anyway - it's wonderful to discover a new blogger :)

The Late Bloomer said...

Yes, thinking about these kinds of things definitely helps to cheer me (and all of us!) up, especially in the darkest of moments. Of course, I guess it can't get you out of absolutely ANY funk, but it's a starting point.

Maitresse, I'll definitely drop you an e-mail and hopefully we'll get that drink one day really soon -- perhaps on one of the better-weather Paris days, when the sun is deigning to grace us with her presence!

Oh, and Katia, I couldn't resist on the food-related things -- I have to admit that the food is one of the things I love the MOST about France! (OK, and maybe it's a little bit about the culture too...)

Emily said...

Seasonal fruit in France is awesome...I agree. :)

girlygirl34 said...

I was just curious to see what simple pleasures other people mention. I liked your post. I wrote about simple pleasures earlier. Here's the link:
if you want to read about it.