1. Easter egg dyeing – It’s just fun. You know it is.
Can you guess which of that batch was my very favorite? (The deviled egg – hee!)
I especially like the fancy designs you can make if you use clear crayons to draw on the eggs. Or going all out and creating pysanky eggs.
(Only I cheated with those – I made them by coloring the eggs with sharpie markers. Shh – don’t tell.)
2. Earl Grey tea – I’ve become a tea lover in recent years. I didn’t like any kind of tea as a kid, even growing up in the South (I swear that some of my cousins drank sweet tea in their bottles!). But starting when I was about 20, something changed. And now I love it. Except sweet tea – still not a big fan. Or unsweet iced tea, for that matter. Ok, so mostly I like hot tea. And chai of any sort. But I was supposed to be talking about Earl Grey – yeah, that’s one of my very favorites, especially first thing in the morning when it’s chilly. (I like Lady Grey even better, though. But that doesn’t start with “E”!)
3. English – When I went to college I expected I’d end up an English major. I didn’t, but that doesn’t mean I gave up on it. I’ve been a reader and a writer for most of my life. Dear god, I even enjoy punctuation and grammar! As a side job when I was just out of college I was a grader for a high school English teacher, which meant that every couple of weeks I got to take a couple hundred papers home to correct and assign grades to. Oh, the power. Once I got over my anxiety about whether this one deserved an 84 or an 87, and if this one really should have been a 78 or 80, I actually enjoyed it, weirdly enough. I was continually HORRIFIED, though, by the poor quality of those papers – from 11th grade honors English students! Oh my god, the incoherence of thought, the lack of organization, not to mention the rampant punctuation and grammar atrocities – I thought it would kill me. Which brings me to my next love:
4. Eats, Shoots and Leaves, by Lynne Truss. If you are any sort of punctuation snob, you must RUN to the bookstore to get your little hands on this book. It has enough snark to make up for all the misplaced apostrophes in all the English papers in all the high schools in all the world. I promise.
5. Etymology – I love learning about where words came from, too, and how history (my actual major in college) shaped the very words we use. Why do we serve pork and beef rather than telling dinner guests that the menu includes pig and cow? Well, I’ll tell you – because of the Norman invasion of the British Isles in 1066, that’s why! After that, for many years, English (well, not modern English but its Old English ancestor) was spoken by the commoners, who raised the pigs and the cows. The aristocracy, who encountered the animals only when served for dinner, spoke Norman French. The French word for pig is porc, and cow is boeuf. Over time, the two French words evolved somewhat and made their way into the English lexicon as pork and beef. Seriously, isn’t that the coolest thing you’ve heard all year? (No? Just me?)
6. Eletelephony – This was the very first poem I ever memorized, and it was one of my mother’s favorites as a child. I remember her reading it to me from our copy of The Golden Treasury of Poetry, which I still think is the best anthology of poetry for children ever compiled. Oh heck, the best anthology of poetry ever, period. Have an extra moment? You can go here to see the text of the poem in full, as well as a poem of my own written in response.
7. Education – Yes, I’m a big nerd. I love education. I loved it as a kid. Even as a teenager, though I wasn’t so socially inept as to fail to rein my enthusiasm for school in when there were other kids around. Is it sad that one of the highlights of my summer every year came right at the end when I got to go shopping for school supplies? The week before I started sixth grade (eek, middle school!) I had a dream about the first day of school, and the highlight of the dream was walking down the hallway in the new outfit I’d picked out for the occasion: an Izod shirt with peach and sea green horizontal stripts and a long, full peach-colored skirt. Oh, 80’s, how I love remembering you with your crazy fashions that even then I couldn’t quite manage to fit in with. You deserve your very own spot on the list!
8. Eighties – Ok, who’s with me? Children of the 80’s, don’t be shy – come on and admit it, you loved them too! Anyone remember those plastic charm necklaces that were all the rage in about ’83? You were NOBODY if you didn’t have an extensive collection. And apparently my mother wished social death on me, because I was not allowed to buy the charms for my friends’ birthday gifts. I had to give them books. BOOKS. So what if on my own I loved books with an unbridled passion? You did NOT give your friends books when every single other kid at the party showed up with little plastic charms shaped like roller skates and umbrellas (with handles that were tiny ballpoint pens that really wrote) and whistles and even toilets with little lids that opened up. Or if not those, then at least some oilies, those shimmering oil-filled stickers that I still think are pretty damn cool and which got me into Big Trouble in first grade when my so-called best friend Elena told me she’d give me the castle oily that was the envy of every kid in the class if I’d just push the kid in front of me when we lined up to go to lunch. No wonder I’ve been uncool for so many long years. It’s totally my mom’s fault!
9. Eight – One of my two favorite numbers when I was a kid. The other was thirteen. I don’t remember quite how they became my favorites but I do remember figuring out something that solidified my ardor for the pair of them: add eight plus the number of letters in the word “eight” and you get… (drum roll, please)… thirteen! And how many letters are there in the word “thirteen”? Eight!
10. Eyes – I like eyes in general. And I’ve always liked my own eyes. I’ve sometimes wished they were brighter blue – they’re just a shade or so bluer than slate grey – but the star pattern in the irises more than makes up for that. And there’s a tiny bit of yellow in each eye, which interestingly enough does notblend into green. Shine on, eyes of grey – you’re one part of me I can manage to love without reservation! (Eyes don’t get pudgy. Thank heavens.)
11. Ebony – She was my first pet, a cat I chose from a neighborhood litter when I was seven. I sat down on a couch and a tiny black kitten jumped right up onto my lap, curled up, and started purring loud enough to be heard on the other side of the room. So I guess I didn’t really choose her so much as she laid claim to me. (Do cats come into our lives any other way?) When I was in seventh grade we moved across the country in the middle of the school year, and it was a really rough transition for me. For a while Ebony was my strongest link to the home I missed so badly. The next year, though, after she’d been turned into an outdoor cat by my parents, she disappeared. Only to reappear – I swear I am not making this up – for one afternoon, SEVEN YEARS LATER. That’s a good story, though, and I’ll save it for another time so I can tell it properly. Consider this the teaser trailer.
12. English muffins with peanut butter – Mmmmmm. Oh god, how badly I want one right now. No butter for me, thanks. The only real way to eat an English muffin is with creamy peanut butter spread on it while it’s still warm and toasty so it gets all melty. Oh, heaven. Truly.
13. Eric – Well I couldn’t very well create an entire list of things that I love that start with “E” without including my very favorite of them all, could I? I mean, it’s not at all because he’s going to end up reading this and will be so charmed by my totally public declaration of love and affection that he’ll want to give me a super-duper back massage every night for the next month and wash all the nasty dishes that are piled up in the sink too. Nope, that’s not why I’ll say right here in this big public list that I love him the very most of all the things that ever started with the letter E in all the world, except maybe éclairs because they are so very yummy that even he has to admit that they’re totally to die for and that it’s completely ok that he comes in second only to them. Éclairs, man. Don’t lie. You know they’re good. Especially with chocolate. I had a Bobbsey Twins book as a kid that centered around the disappearance of a poodle named Éclair. And chocolate éclairs were essential to figuring out the mystery of the dognapping because they are just that awesome.
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