Happy Cinco de Mayo, 2019

I’ve been collecting Mexican folk art for years, especially alebrijes (wood animals) and Josefina Aguilar’s clay figurines (the one to the right is my favorite). There’s something about the wild abandon of folk art, the refusal to bow to any academy or rigid criteria, the sense that anything goes as long as it fills the artist’s soul with joy, that makes me happy.

It’s probably fitting to talk about that on Cinco de Mayo since the date celebrates an improbable victory over a sophisticated invading force (the French this time) that led to renewed confidence and joy in the defending army. Cinco de Mayo has been co-opted into an American drinking holiday that a lot of people think is Mexico’s Independence Day (that’s Sept. 16) so there’s the whole appropriation problem again, but if we think of it as a time to raise a glass to indomitable spirit and the great joy of freedom, a kind of folk-art-as-history holiday, I think we’re okay.

Also, in case I didn’t make myself clear, Mexican folk art makes me wildly happy. What made you happy this week?

57 thoughts on “Happy Cinco de Mayo, 2019

  1. Running makes me happy. I hate thinking about it beforehand, I’m not wild about doing it at the time, but once I’ve hit my 5K, I’m happy. Managed it yesterday and today. I’m having to do it on a treadmill at the moment as the Minions like me taking to the school fitness centre and are not allowed to go there unaccompanied, so it’s the treadmill rather than fresh air, but it’s still better than not doing it at all.

    And at the moment, am about 4,000 words away from finishing WIP. That is making me happy. I got something very wrong yesterday when writing, but am fixing it today. I have until tomorrow night to finish this sucker. There will be a ton of editing and tweaking and fixing and rewrites, but the carcass is nearly ready for sophisticated butchering.

    17+
  2. Walking makes me happy. And, if it’s only barely drizzling, like today, I walk. With my dog, in her stroller. (rescued Sheltie. An injury when she was young was not treated. She’s good for short distances but not the longer walk I want.) The dog being pushed in a stroller gives a lot of people joy!
    And, for years, I’ve been thinking about expanding my driveway. I have finally gotten around to actually scheduling the job. It should happen on Wednesday. It will mean less yard work (huge shrub coming out as well as grass) and if I get some ground cover in, no mowing on a steep slope. Yay!

    12+
    1. My daughter and her husband just got 2 kittens. They say it’s plenty! But they do make them happy, and I’m looking forward to visiting them next Saturday.

      11+
    2. I thought two kitties were enough until I saw a YouTube video of a man with seven kittens on his lap.

      (No, honestly, seven kittens would make me insanely happy, but also bring me a lot of grumping and tch’ing as they destroyed the house. I think I’ll stick to the mellow highs and lows of two adult cats.)

      3+
  3. Reconnecting with some geographically distant friends made me happy this weekend. Also, introducing two sets of my friends to each other and them liking each other so we could all have fun hanging out together.

    13+
  4. Ooh. Friends. I’ve been reaching out to friends and responding when they reached out so I’ve spent time with people I haven’t seen in months.

    It’s easy for me to stay home and do everything that needs doing or actually, stay home and procrastinate. Connecting with good friends takes more time and energy but I need to do it because it makes me feel better after.

    13+
    1. I’ve been doing that too. Spent yesterday with one set and today with another. Got very little done and I’m pretty tired, but my soul is happier.

      Also, there was cheesecake.

      9+
  5. Roses in my yard are blooming and a lot more are going to open in the next days. Always makes me happy. Also my husband has weirdly taken over on gardening duty? I use to tease him for not knowing the names of any flowers (and I’m talking like pansies and lilies, not anything wild or exotic) and years ago when I wanted roses, I just bought them and planted them myself. I didn’t feel like he’d be interested.
    Last year, we talked about expanding the rose garden out (to plant some climbing roses to ramble up our front porch) and I thought it was one of those things we’d talk about but not do (it happens a lot ;)) But he did all the research, built the rose beds, and planted everything. This year he did expanded and did even more. He still wants me to pick out which roses, but now he’s reading about roses and going out and fussing over them every day. He’s calling them “his roses” now. He’s even named them. Part of me is a little jealous, he’s scooped up my hobby, but honestly I’m very happy to just enjoy the fruits of his hard work. I also feel like he’s such a nurturer at heart (in a way most men are not encouraged to be or feel comfortable being) that gardening is kind of perfect for him. I’m a bit more lazy, distracted, pick something hardy and hope for the best type person. Also we both love “The Little Prince” and “The Secret Garden” two very rose centric books. I mean, The Secret Garden is more broadly about gardens, but the description of roses growing every where is what sticks with me.

    “It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.” 🙂

    17+
  6. I’m just now in the airport leaving El Paso, so I can say that Tex-Mex and New Mexican food have made me happy.
    My grandma’s funeral was a family reunion mostly so I got to see a cousin who lives abroad and who’s visits haven’t overlapped with mine in a decade, and meet another cousin’s son for the first time. The son is in high school.

    15+
  7. Enjoyed a couple more bluebell hits this week. They’re such an incredibly intense blue when they first come out, and the perfume makes me calm and joyous.

    Also had a friend over for lunch, and planned to see each other again soon.

    13+
    1. I also adore bluebells. We have a small road that is bordered by a creek on both sides and the bluebells put on a huge show in the spring, we make a point of driving by every time we go to town just to see them

      1+
      1. I don’t think they can be the same kind of bluebells, unless you’re in northwest Europe. Ours form great carpets in woods and places that used to be woods, plus on sea cliffs. The botanical name is Hyacinthoides (or Endymion) non-scripta. They’re especially striking under beech trees, whose leaves are lime green at this time of year. When I was very young, and lived in south Yorkshire, they flowered on my birthday in mid-May, so I took them as mine.

        2+
  8. Finding myself again, makes me happy. For years, I’ve buried or ignored signs that pointed me towards what I not only need to be, but who I was born to be.

    I believe that in the storm of life, there are so many ways that we can get distracted or even discouraged from seeking out our true selves and it makes me happy…no, makes me excited, that I have found those breadcrumbs leading me back to who I really am.

    I’m still terrified to take the steps down that path, but I’m trying to look at this next step as an adventure instead of an overwhelming change.

    Stumbling onto your blog and webpage was a joyful first step. Thank you! 🙂

    10+
  9. Gardening and riding my bike make me very happy. Although we’ve had a cool, very wet spring in Eastern Ontario (Canada), the weekends have been nice. Today is glorious. Still a risk of frost so too early to plant anything, but there’s always more clean up and general pottering around. Just being outside without a jacket and an umbrella is a treat. My 60th BD is later this week – still wrapping my head around it – but I’m happy that I’m healthy and have a wonderful family and terrific friends.

    17+
  10. Connected with dear friends at another women’s conference. Excellent time. Seeing my friends made me happy.

    Had a long conversation with older brother this am, he is doing really well now two years after SIL’s passing. He is going on a big cruise later this year – asked the pertinent question, “going by yourself or are you going with someone?” He cannot lie, after telling me it was none of my business, he spilled the beans. Of course, the next question is – are you staying in the same cabin or separate, to which he said separate. It made me very happy to hear the happiness in his voice.

    And we got to watch five year old granddaughter show us everything she does for the horses. She is an outdoor girl and loves the two Shetland ponies. So cute.

    Took back control over my long term savings, another happy and very satisfying moment.

    15+
  11. We got out the bikes and the double bike trailer, and it’s making everybody happy, even though the baby (who’s a year old in a week and a half and walking confidently, so I suppose I need to upgrade him to The Toddler now!) and I are both sick (ugh). Photos of my crew are on Instagram @larkinplarkin if anybody wants vicarious joy from seeing cute kids (and my handsome husband 😍).

    13+
  12. Spending the time just enjoying feeling stronger every day. We are still having big rain storms come through just about every week, but managed (with my hubby’s help) to get my patio pots done and a new heavy (about 200+ pounds) concrete pot bought and placed for my norfolk pine. It is so top heavy that it kept getting blown over and beat up. By gosh it’s going to take a hurricane this time to turn it over (whoops – don’t mean to jinx us – hurricane season starts in less than a month 🙁 ). My patio is looking pretty terrific!

    18+
      1. I am in “semi-remission” – which means I now have chemo every three weeks and it is just one type – before I was getting two every week. PET scans did not show any cancer and my C-makers are almost down to “0”!!!! Of course my oncologist reminds me that ovarian cancer can be microscopic and not show anywhere, but she is optimistic enough to put me on what they call maintenance. I have had one round of just the one chemo and came out of it much better than I ever have. Still had energy and was not too sick. I am in such a better place than I was just a year ago and I am going to enjoy the heck out of it. Planning a driving vacation to Buffalo NY (from Houston) next month. A little nervous to be that far from my doctor but I cant live in fear all the time.

        11+
        1. Oh, congratulations!
          You never get over the fear that the remission will end, but it recedes way far into the background. I’ve been in remission for 36 years and I still get a little tense when I think about it. But most of the time, I don’t think about it.

          10+
  13. My Airpods made me happy today, because they make it so much easier to listen to music while I walk. Today’s walk was along the Strand in Manhattan and Hermosa Beaches, and I listened to Celtic music (Van Morrison’s St. Dominic’s Preview was particularly dreamy) and objectified the shirtless volleyball players I saw along the way. 🙂

    7+
    1. I believe in this week’s column, Chris Erskine, L.A. Times author, named Manhattan Beach “paradise on steriods.” No idea what Hermosa is — oh, wait. Once home of folkie joint The Golden Bear.

      3+
      1. Hermosa is the town immediately south of Manhattan, but a completely different vibe. Despite the multi-million-dollar beachfront homes, it manages to feel quite a bit more down market/real that Manhattan, which is quite chi-chi. They’re both huge volleyball towns, so a lot of eye candy while I’m walking. 🙂

        4+
  14. Yesterday it was finally sunny on a day I had no responsibilities, so I put on a new sundress and spent over four miles walking with a friend along the bluff. It was pretty much perfect, even if I absolutely wore the wrong shoes and now I have blisters on the top AND bottom of my left foot. And there was farmer’s market before, and dinner and a show with a different friend after, so today I’m resting and cooking and singing with the windows wide open.

    8+
  15. Such a nice and quiet Sunday after the last of our housewarming parties yesterday. We had a cold spell with a little snow (in May, it’s hard to believe) but today it was warm and sunny enough for us to take a walk around one of our reservoirs. Then our daughter sent more kitten videos (because that’s what the internet was truly invented for, right?) and we started to plan our summer vacation in the South of France. Lots of things to make me happy.

    8+
  16. Having a lovely May 5th Liberation Day celebration, seeing my whole family all together again made me happy today.

    In the Netherlands, the evening of May 4th is Remembrance of the Dead, with solemn ceremonies and two minutes of silence nationwide at 20:00 o’clock, to remember all those who died in or as a result of war or persecution, and those who died for our freedom. Then May 5th is Liberation Day, when we celebrate our freedom and determine to hand it on to future generations, on the anniversary of the capitulation of the Germans at the end of the Second World War, freeing the second (northern) half of the Netherlands after the Hunger Winter.

    I think it enhances the sense of freedom being worth a joyous celebration, rather than a taken for granted commonplace, to remember the sacrifices made to achieve it. It’s not just an excuse for a party, it’s also an important legacy we need to guard for those who come after, and if possible share with those who come from elsewhere, as the Allied people did who freed our grandparents.

    16+
  17. This week, happiness was planting a new baby tree in the yard; having a good interview; having dinner out with DH and a friend; and *not* getting an offer (which I then would have been forced to decline) from last week’s bad interview.

    Also finished, polished, and launched novella #24 in the series.

    7+
  18. I’ve been watching some of the fan-made music videos for the Marvel women, and through that I’ve found a band I hadn’t come across before that I really like. That made me happy.

    7+
  19. Went for a long drive in the country with a friend and her young daughter. We found a tree nursery in mid-Vermont. Their motto is “if it grows here, it will grow anywhere,” in Vermont anyway. So now I have to save for nut trees and plums. The best part was it was sunny in the north, which it was not here. So we got an adventure and sun. Very happy making.

    7+
    1. “if it grows here, it will grow anywhere,”

      What a BRILLIANT twist to “this is the worst land in the state”! (Which, maybe, maybe not. But seems to me a northern tree nursery is not a venture that pays back the mortgage on the land quickly.)

      1+
  20. The question is, “What *didn’t* make me happy this week?”

    It was a great week. I filed my state taxes at the very last minute (I’m getting a refund.)
    I gardened in the nude. (Indoors)
    I read really awful, terribly written porn. If I didn’t say, “Even *I* could write better than this!” once, I said it twenty times. (No hyperbole.)
    I listened to Welcome to Temptation again.
    I finished the Wearing the Cape series for the nth time.
    I took the dotter to Ruby Tuesday for dinner, and didn’t melt afterwards in the torrential downpour when we forgot the umbrella in the car.
    I took the dotter shopping, carried the umbrella everywhere, and it didn’t rain again all evening.

    And now I’m safely at home.

    7+
  21. Happiness this week had a bird theme.

    I acquired an old birdhouse, took off the bottom and (wearing a mask, glasses and gloves) removed 20 years of nesting stuff, including faded bubblegum wrappers, cellophane tape, and a pencil. A pencil with lead.

    I promised myself at the beginning of yesterday’s walk that no matter how many garage sales I encountered, I would buy only the painting props on my wish list: artificial fruit and eggs. There was exactly one garage sale. They had wooden eggs.

    I bought a concrete bird (marked down to $3) for a friend, and enthused about it so much that DH went to the store and got one for me.

    Bonus happy: Our daughter is road-tripping and got stuck in mud–and a whole bunch of kind strangers helped her out.

    7+
  22. My biggest happy was talking to my niece, Emmy. Since I still haven’t read the article she sent me, the business portion of the call was pretty brief. But I did get to hear about the job her husband will soon start. Since he changed careers and went back to school it has seemed like he was “putting in his time” for the 99th time. But the new job is actually building furniture, not just making crown moldings time after time. And he already knows and respects his new boss, so this will be a BIG improvement.

    6+
  23. Flowers and friends. Yearly our group does a (fantastic) heritage rose exhibit set in a larger rose show in north county. “Smell the fragrance!” We’ve nailed the display process: flurry of rose collecting, custom wood stands made by a film set builder, linens, bud jars, identification and other signage, info sheets. Went smoothlier than ever. We’re friends, we who do this, and two more L.A. besties – met at the Huntington – journeyed down to join us. After setup, we showed the new guys the back country horse ranch/wedding venue where all sorts of roses florish everywhere – gorgeous climbers, shrubs, ground covers. A gifted rosarian chose roses, and his memorial service was held in the venue. Owner followed his direction and planted “wherever makes you happy.” A outstanding year for roses, so the display was magnificent. Then country Italian lunch in which everyone took turns talking. Did you know DEA dogs at the airport can sniff out a denuded grape stem deep in suitcase recesses?

    Yes, I am happy. And now here comes Champagne.

    10+
  24. All around a great weekend with family visits, someone else making my mom’s birthday dinner and having a great time. Then Sunday was rainy, so after carefully monitoring my liquid intake all day, I went to the Avengers in the afternoon and made it through the 3-hour length without having to make a potty trip. Gosh, what a movie.

    3+
  25. Between travel and intestinal flu, I was way behind on Argh, so reading three days’ worth was a treat. Cautiously optimistic that I am DONE with the flu, which is enough happy for anyone.

    4+
  26. I’m a little late on this but my biggest happy of the past several days was that the sun came out this afternoon. We’ve had so many rainy days (3-4 rainy days followed by one not quite as rainy day, and as Jenny says…lather, rinse, repeat), over the past few weeks that I was beginning to think the sun would never shine again.

    . And, even though the ground is still fairly wet, I was able to mow the lawn before the sun went down. (Rain again in the forecast for the next several days…sigh)

    3+
  27. I had the weekend off for a change. And I SLEPT. It was glorious. Friday night after work while just about everybody else in town was at the Oaks, I got a massage. And then I pretty much didn’t get out of bed the rest of the weekend, so I missed all the Derby noise and traffic and controversy over the finish. My favorite way to do Derby weekend!

    Sleep makes me very, very happy. I don’t get nearly enough of it.

    5+
  28. Daffodils are blooming! I’m not a great gardener, so when I see things coming back after a long winter, I really feel good. It looks like half the sage made it, too!

    Had a nice long walk with a friend through a greenery-garden — they don’t focus on flowers so much as they do different shapes and colors of foliage. So restful! And good exercise, as well.

    2+
  29. Happiness is getting a tech problem solved on my computer that prevented me from teaching my Monday class (online). Now to schedule the makeup class.

    1+

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