LESLEY’S LIST: Five Fun Indulgences for a Cheerful Friday

Ponies, prairies, picture-drawing and more happymaking things.
Publish date:
April 27, 2012
shoppables, books, tea, Netflix, beth ditto, I want to be a pony

What am I into this week? I'LL TELL YOU.

Inside my head, Wendy McClure and I are best friends now. Is that creepy?

The Wilder Life, by Wendy McClure

I wasn’t a huge fan of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books when I was a kid; I read them a few times, and definitely liked them a lot, but they never really stood out to me as one of my more passionate literary memories (I was more of a Ramona Quimby -- and later, Anastasia Krupnik -- kind of girl). So I was a little surprised by how much I ‘ve loved Wendy McClure's "The Wilder Life," a memoir about her own obsession with Laura's story.

Part of my enjoyment stems from my own memories -- it turns out I recall way more details of the Little House escapades than I thought -- but most of the book’s appeal is specific to McClure, who discusses her own search for Wilder meaning in a voice that is ultra-relatable and reflective, occasionally dorky and always sincere, whether she is attempting butter-churning at home or riding out an actual hailstorm on the actual prairie where the Ingallses lived.

Sometimes, for me, listening to someone else speak passionately about something they love is enough to make me appreciate it. Also, McClure’s interactions with her boyfriend Chris are hilarious and super familiar.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

For the past year or so I’ve heard people -- adults, I mean -- talking about the greatness of "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic." I knew it was an Internet thing. I knew there are a lot of nonstandard fans, dudes mostly, who call themselves “bronies” (i.e. bro + pony). But I had never seen the show. Until it turned up on Netflix streaming very recently.

There’s really nothing that dramatically outrageous about MLP: FIM. It’s not irreverent, it’s not snarky, and it’s not grotesque. It is rather extraordinarily wholesome and cute. It is also often legitimately funny. There are ponies, and they are adorable, and they get into scrapes and pull through for picturesque happy endings. They're FRIENDS. All of that said, I have no idea why people love it so much.

I have no idea why I love it so much. But I do. I want to be a pony, you guys. I want to be a pony.

Draw Something

Draw Something. Oh, Draw Something. One person is given a selection of ideas or objects to draw, of varying difficulty. They draw the idea or object of their choosing, and then their opponent has to guess the answer based on their drawing. Once they have successfully guessed, then player two draws something. And on it goes.

There is so much to be said for Draw Something. It is the rare truly cooperative game, in which you want your “opponent” to succeed, so there’s no ugly competitive tension. More than that, I’m shocked at how many times this game has made me laugh hysterically over the past two weeks I’ve been playing it.

It is also a rare opportunity in which being crappy at the central mechanic is actually kind of a benefit. You would think that expert artists would be better at Draw Something than terrible scrawlers like myself, and technically you’d be right -- I’ve watched some amazing illustrators create images in Draw Something that I would have liked to print out and keep. But for me, the real fun is in playing with people who are terrible, like myself, because it’s so much more of a challenge. What the hell IS that? A foot? A shovel? A dachshund? Failure has never been such fun.

I remember the first time I found out what teabagging meant, in its original videogame context. I must have laughed for fifteen minutes straight.

Twinings Iced Tea Bags

You all know about my tea obsession. But sometimes in warmer temps, the last thing I want is a cup of hot liquid. As a result I will ice any tea, from black to rooibos, herbal to oolong, just to get my fix. In spring I often favor iced hibiscus tea, which is like an all-natural vivid-fuschia Kool-Aid with no added sugar -- you can add sugar, sure, but the crisp tartness is perfect to me unsweentened.

Of course, making iced hibiscus tea means boiling water, steeping the flowers, then pouring it all over ice, which takes a bit. When I don’t have time to do all that, I’ve gotten hooked on Twinings single-serve iced tea bags. You can steep them in cold water! And they taste a million times better than that crappy Lipton stuff. I’m especially hooked on the mixed berries version, as well as the green tea with mint (basically Morrocan mint over ice).

I have to order this stuff online, in fact -- the only place I’ve ever seen it in stock in a store is in the UK pavilion at freaking Epcot -- and I do it because I love it just that much.

Gossip’s “Perfect World”

I’m totally obsessed with this new(ish) Gossip video, in which Beth Ditto channels all the best parts of Stevie Nicks and Ann Wilson. GIVE ME ALL YOUR CLOTHES, BETH DITTO. ALL OF THEM. And then teach me how to be half as awesome as you.