Loves and Hates

A few weeks back, I commented to a friend that I hate mushrooms. I mean, really hate mushrooms. To quote myself, “They’d make a Top 10 list of the absolute worst things in the world.”

And from that comment, an entire, hours-long conversation and running joke was born: Our Love/Hate, or Best/Worst, lists. As it turns out, we had quite a bit of difficulty limiting ourselves to just 10. But that’s okay. So, to share with the world, here mine are, not necessarily in this order:


1. Winter. It’s the worst. The cold, the dark, the wind, the dryness, the lack of sunshine, the long days, the gray skies … you get the idea. Winter’s only redeeming quality is the one day per year that I go skiing.

2. Spiders. Just thinking about the makes me squirm. I’m a pretty tough girl, but spiders get me every time.

3. Mushrooms. Duh. They’re a fungus. Humans aren’t supposed to eat fungi. No matter how they’re cooked, they have a terrible texture—either rough or slimy.

4. The Packers. Kind of a given when you grow up a Bears fan, but I rrrreeeaaallllyy hate this team. It’s irrational, and I know it. But when they perpetually are a thorn in your team’s side and when you’re related to a lot of overly vocal fans, it’s hard not to really loathe these guys. Plus, Brett Favre. I mean, come on.

5. Wet socks. The worst feeling. I can’t stand it. If I step on a drop of water in the bathroom in the morning, I have to change my socks before leaving the house.

6. Having to repeat myself. The extension of this is bad/rude listeners. If you ask me a question, listen to the answer. If we’re having a conversation, pay attention. I’ll do the same for you.

7. Flaky people.  Yeah, I’m a planner, probably almost to a fault. But if you say you’re going to do something, don’t let me know. And if we make a plan, don’t leave me hanging.

8. Needles. Another irrational fear that developed later in my life, I suppose due to several bad experiences. This is the reason I can’t watch any sort of medical show or movie.

9. Clowns and mascots. I’m not that original with the clown anxiety, but I am straight-up terrified of mascots. That includes Disney characters and such. Someone is in there, and I don’t know them. What’s more, what kind of a person wants to do that for his/her job? Creeper!

10. Gauge earrings. Ew ew ew. Your skin is not supposed to do that.

11. Popping balloons. Probably the worst sound in the world. Doesn’t help that I’m a really, really jumpy person.

12. Cats. And cat videos. I’m allergic to cats, I think they’re sneaky and smelly, and they just aren’t very nice. So I really don’t understand the need for zillions of videos of cats doing weird things—and people obsessing about that. Chill out.

13. Bad perfume and too much cologne. There are few scents out there that I like, so most perfumes are far too strong/fake/floral/something along those lines. And while I do like cologne, in mild amounts, far too many males reach adulthood without realizing that cologne is supposed to be subtle. It’s not supposed to knock me over.

14. First kisses. I hate them. They are awkward and uncomfortable. You spend at least the 10 minutes beforehand wondering if it’s going to happen and at least the 10 minutes after wondering if you messed it up. Second kisses are so much better.

15. Narrow bridges. They freak me out! It’s either run into oncoming traffic or run off the bridge and into a river. Pick your poison.


1. White desserts. While I love almost anything sweet, I have realized that my favorite treats have this in common. Vanilla-based ice cream flavors, white chocolate, angel food cake, vanilla frosting … those are the ways to my heart.

2. Sunshine. Seems silly but it’s the only thing I need to have a good day. And a day without has the makings of a bummer.

3. The ocean. Goes along with the sunshine, but it’s just so much better than a pool or lake. The smell, the sounds, the sand … so great. If I have my way, I will never again live farther from the ocean than I do now.

4. The smell of vanilla. My favorite scent, either in perfume or baking.

5. Running when it’s 55 and sunny. In my opinion that’s the best running weather. Colder than most like it, but I think it’s great. In that kind of weather I am most likely to hit my stride and get in that “I could run forever” way of feeling.

6. White wine. I didn’t drink much of it before moving to Connecticut, but I have since fallen in love. Drink it while you eat, drink it while you cook, drink it while you just relax. It’s all great, and I’m loving the process that is learning all about it.

7. Chicago sports. That seems so “duh.” I mean, I grew up in Chicago and I work for ESPN. But the thing is, since I’ve moved away from Chicago, I’ve become even more connected to my teams. Part of that came from just becoming a more hardcore sports fan, but while in Missouri for college and now in Connecticut, my sports teams are a link to where I’m from, to home. And even though I never want to live in Chicago again, anytime I can hear a Chicago accent or catch a glimpse of the Sears Tower, it’s a good thing.

8. Singing. Another obvious one, given that I’ve been involved in music as long as I can remember. But I tried my hardest to narrow this one down and just couldn’t. Because I love it all: chamber music, madrigals, choral repertoire, broadway musicals, belting in the car, singing in the shower, accompaniment for acoustic guitar, acapella pop music. I can’t choose a favorite, and I can’t live without any of them.

9. Laughing. Anything, anyone, any movie, any place, any story that can make me laugh, I will love. It’s really that simple. Any day that I laugh is probably a good day; any day that I don’t, not so much.

10. Cooking. Another love I have found in just the past few years, but it was a quick fall. The nurturer side of me loves providing for others, the health nut loves knowing exactly what’s in my food, the creative loves trying new things. Whether it’s baking a delicious dessert or cooking a scrumptious meal, it’s all a joy for me.

11. A good book, fuzzy blanket and mug of hot chocolate on a rainy day. I only love day thunderstorms when I don’t have to leave the house, and on those days, this is the best way to spend the time.

12. Breakfast. Best meal of the day, whether it’s an elaborate feast or just fruit and yogurt. You’d be hard-pressed to find any breakfast food I don’t like and won’t eat at any time of day, and good luck catching a day on which I skipped breakfast.

13. Dancing. Anytime, anywhere. I don’t need a partner. I don’t even need music (there’s always a song stuck in my head).

14. Trying something new, going somewhere new, learning something new, meeting someone new. This need for “new” fuels my loves of travel, going out to eat, being social and reading. I’ve always been an inquisitive person, going back to my non-stop-questioning toddler days. To some extent, that’s probably what propelled me into journalism. One of my life philosophies is that anything (that isn’t extremely dangerous or illegal) is worth trying once, and that no day is complete until you’ve had a new experience. Makes life far more interesting.

15. Driving. To some people it’s strange, but I love the act of driving, the feel of it. I’m so happy that I live somewhere that necessitates my having a car, and I enjoy my commute to work each and every day. I don’t love getting gas, but one of the things I missed most while in college and living in New York was definitely driving.

16. Slippers. I have about seven pairs. I’m kind of obsessed. But my feet are always cold, and I don’t like wearing shoes in the house, so I think it’s justified.

And there you have it!


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