Tag Archives: finding happiness

Joy: perfectly golden buttered toast

I don’t know about you all, but I’m a 75% fan of sourdough bread. I usually think it’s great, but sometimes it just doesn’t hit the spot like other breads. (Read: cinnamon swirl, sour cream & pecan, pumpk chocolate chip…you get the idea.) Today, however, the toasted slices hit the spot like popsicles on a hot summer’s day, or chapstick on sunburned lips, or BBC’s Pride & Prejudice anytime you have 5 hours to spare.

This snack brought me an embarrassing amount of pleasure today. So much so that I couldn’t even be bothered to get myself a plate. Could barely take the time to set the toast on the table and snap a pic before gobbling them up. Passersby peering through the windows shortly thereafter may or may not have seen a large-bellied woman in her early 30s shamelessly licking crumbs off the table. I’ll never tell.

Speaking of: is it normal that food brings about so much joy on a day-to-day basis? Because I seem to be categorically shifting into a “foodie blog” here. Heh.

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Joy: Unexpected gifts

My sweet 7-year-old burst through the door after walking home from school. “MOM! I got you a PRESENT!” (pause while he dug through his backpack, then:) “I found it on the way home from school, and I asked the people who lived in the house on that yard if it was theirs and they said no and that I could KEEP it!!!”

He proudly presented me with this plastic bird. I tried to match his enthusiasm in my receipt. I’m sure I fell short.

Son: “I know how you like pets that are quiet and not messy, so when I saw this, I knew it would be PERFECT for you.”

Hard to beat a perfectly-given gift, eh? I hung the bird (with fishing line…by its neck…shhhh) in an empty decorative bird cage and felt joy.

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Joy: wood floors

We’re coming up on the 3-year anniversary of our Great Flood of 2009. Which expelled us from our home for four months and caused nearly $50k in damage and forever altered the way we view possessions. (Didn’t alter my sweet tooth, though, which, frankly, would’ve been a welcome side effect…)

It was a crazy experience to arrive home from a weeklong vacation and, exhausted, enter an allsofasudden uninhabitably waterlogged house, take a heart-sinking inventory of the damage, and sit in a state of numbness while waiting for the insurance and disaster cleanup people to coordinate. But, over the ensuing days and weeks and months, the shock trasformed into creative fodder for fabulous home improvements. Stuff like new tub surrounds. New doors. New bathrooms. New flooring. New moldings. New arrangements. New new new…

One of the changes we opted for was to replace the ceramic tile floor in the entryway, dining room, and kitchen with red oak. The floor that was once cold and grout-grimy (let’s pretend my lack of housecleaning had nothing to do with that) became warm, welcoming, earthy, and part of the ebb and flow of our home.

To anyone else, the floor is nice but probably nothing special — a place to walk on, sweep (in theory), and spill the occasional glass of milk. But to me, it’s become a talisman of change, of the capacity to make things beautiful when circumstances are anything but. I think you get the point, but just in case, let me be clear: it brings me joy, and I love this floor. Maybe not enough to recommend extensively flooding one’s house to attain such a treasure, but then again, maybe so.*

*But, really, not. Because having a flooded house stinks. 

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Joy: Shirt-and-sweater combo

Not the best day overall today, friends. I just wasn’t feeling it. What’s ‘it’? you’re asking. Good question. Anything, really. I wasn’t in my parenting groove (translation: my kids fought all.day.long. and I couldn’t/didn’t stop it), wasn’t feeling healthy or cute, wasn’t motivated or creative or cheerful or enthusiastic.

I know (think? hope?) everyone has days like this. And sometimes I feel better knowing that they make the good days even better. (Sometimes that reminder just makes me annoyed, but whatevs.)

So today’s joy was simple but genuine: shirt parts (e.g., collar, sleeves) that come pre-attached to the sweater to create the look of a great ensemble but in a single pull-one-thing-over-your-head-and-be-on-your-way movement. Oh yeah.

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Joy: Celerie Kemble

This afternoon my children were either napping or out of the house. (I’m hoping that the one at school wasn’t napping as well…classtime power naps don’t start until junior high, right?) (Not that I would know, of course.) (*cough*)

The laundry needed doing, dinner needed prepping, my body needed exercising, every square inch of ye ole household needed dusting (at the very least). And yet what I chose to do was make myself some chocolate pudding and curl up on the couch to peruse my beloved Celerie Kemble interiors book.

Sometimes my joy is very short-sighted. And I’m okay with that. Because, honestly? Chocolate pudding will exist in heaven. There’s no doubt in my mind.

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Joy: Round-trip bus ride

 

Because she had a backpack and was (apparently) thus safe from any back injury that would potentially be incurred, my 3-year-old adrenaline junkie amped up the daredevil factor of our sidewalk journey this morning: “Don’t step on a crack, or you’ll fall and break your…TOE!” Commence wild maniacal laughter. (This, people, is why my own jokes are so well received around here. The bar is set verrrrrrrry low.)

My 3-year-old and I walked to the bus stop and then went on a round-trip bus ride this morning. Even among the mid-Monday-morning smell of alcohol and rarely washed bodies that accompanied the surprisingly populated 10:41 line, it was delightful. The sun was out, the temps were sky-high (50s at the time! beautiful!), the bus windows were huge. Plus, little A.’s sunglasses were only attached at her ears (didn’t touch the bridge of her nose), so every bump and jiggle of the bus sent the little shades on an up-and-down waggle way out in front of her face. Made me laugh every time.

Also joy: taking off my cute but stiffly brand new ballet flats when we got home to discover only one and a half blisters on my heels where I was convinced at least four enormous monstrocities (sp?) would be. It’s a good day.

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Joy: Indoor picnic

On weekends, the last thing I ever want to do is make dinner. Am I weird? (Don’t answer that too honestly…) So you can imagine my delight, nay, JOY, when my daughter had the genius idea to picnic for dinner. At first they wanted to go outside for the feast (they’re really into the idea that it’s warm out there…even asking why haven’t we set up the swimming pool and hammocks and can they eat popsicles). Sometimes I get tired of saying “no,” so I struck the kiddos a deal: if they looked out the front window and saw grass instead of snow in our front yard, then we’d dine outside.

As they beelined up to the living room windows, I crossed my fingers that global warming hadn’t taken effect in the past 25 minutes…and, while I was at it, sent a coupla positive vibes to the polar bears.

Phew. Looks like the snow in our yard (and, I can only assume, the polar bears) were present and accounted for. Indoor dining it was.

Nothing like a little cheese, veggies, apple slices, crackers, and “fancy” mini PBJ samwiches eaten on a blanket in the entryway to make it feel like spring. That was joyful. Short-lived, if I’m being honest, as the kids started arguing about who would sit where. There may or may not have been tears and a piece of thrown cheese involved. But the joyful moment was already documented, so there you have it.

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Joy: 3-for-1 deals


What’re you looking at? It brought me joy, okay?

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