Happiness is Stripping Down

So I’ve been stripping down the blog to put it back up cleaner and meaner in organization, and it’s coming along nicely.  And when Krissie was here, we spent time stripping down the house, and she took a lot of stuff back with her.  And then it got really hot here and Mona was looking awful so I stripped her down, too.  I will not be getting my grooming license any time soon, but she seems to have survived to bark at squirrels and snarf cookies, so I consider her a success.  

How did you find basic happiness this week?

47 thoughts on “Happiness is Stripping Down

  1. I visited a sister in PA along with another sister. We went for a massage (I really needed one; there are way too many knots in my shoulders), stopped at a second hand thrift store, ate out, and enjoyed ourselves.

    Yesterday was supposed to be a bust weather-wise but the sun came out, a nice breeze showed up, and there were puffy, white clouds scattered around in a beautiful blue sky. After running errands (and going back out again when I realized I had forgotten the one thing in particular I really needed- gift wrap for a bridal shower I am attending today) I spent a few hours in my hammock swing in the back yard with a beverage, a book, and my cats for companionship.

    8+
  2. Basic happiness is sitting on my front porch with hot or iced coffee depending on the heat/humidity levels and reading a book, magazine, or newspaper.
    Making a quick stop at the book store and the craft store after the local Pride Rally. Connecting with my friend Rose (and her bullhorn).
    Today, Sunday lunch with two of my cousins.

    6+
  3. I start chemo on Tuesday, so husband and I took a meandering drive to the coast for seafood. Found a great bakery, stopped a few times to take some pictures. It was the perfect recharge I needed.

    28+
  4. Hitting 24% on our crowdfund for the next book in two days.

    Making salted caramel-maple cookies last night and comforting my housemate through a friend break-up.

    Seeing all the people I’m dating in the same week.

    Reading good books.

    Reading one terrible book and getting to complain about it to everyone.

    14+
    1. I’m dying to know, how many people are you dating? It’s a glimpse into another culture for me. Living vicariously because I haven’t dated anyone in 20 years (except my partner, does that count – those dates usually end up with an errand, e.g. stopping at the supermarket for milk on the way home) and also, we tend to date linearly here. Although maybe Tinder et al have changed things since ‘my day’.

      7+
      1. Just the three now. Was four but it was feeling kinda empty and I’m not into that. Ethically non-monogamous, friends with most of my partners’ partners, etc.

        5+
        1. I have so many questions about how ethical non-monogamy works in the real world. There must be so many conversations about ground rules and boundaries. I would imagine that even the most open and accepting partner would have lines that can’t be crossed, as would you.

          4+
          1. Ummm to start there are a lot of conversation, and boundaries are always boundaries, but rules tend to go out the window after a time. (In polya speak–not everywhere maybe but definitely in my local community–rules are things you place on other people and boundaries are what you place on yourself.)

            I’d be happy to answer whatever questions you have but I don’t wanna take up too much space here. You can find me on Twitter as @hellolibrarian and on Facebook as The Polyamorous Librarian.

            5+
    2. OMG that terrible book thing. I spent today’s hour-plus walk mentally writing a scathing review of a newish book by a longtime best-seller. Got my heart rate right up there.

      11+
      1. When that happened to me, I didn’t complain, I just never bought her again. However that was easy as her UK publisher dropped her, they required things like a plot, clear dialogue and grammar. I did check on her next couple of books, but that series pretty much went straight off the cliff

        6+
  5. I’ve been revelling in my relatively problem-free life and not taking a moment of it for granted because earlier in the week a friend learned that her father finally received a diagnosis on the cause of his dementia symptoms and it’s not a good one.

    14+
  6. Happiness, a slice of homemade banana bread with blueberries baked inside.
    Not so happiness, when the grandchildren’s dog gets out of the house and is sprayed by a skunk. They are going to try the tomato juice method with liberal amounts of baking soda on the carpet. Their house!

    9+
    1. I have had some luck with oxiclean and also hydrogen peroxide in the deskunking. I wish everyone the best of luck.

      7+
      1. Nature’s Miracle Skunk Odor Remover was the only thing that worked when I had a cat who got skunked. The vet’s office told me about it. They were eager to explain how to handle it without bringing her in, lol. I’m sure you can find it at Petsmart or order it from Chewy or Amazon

        4+
    2. Also Dawn dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, and warm water works.

      A couple of days ago i realized a pile of pine needles was actually a very small porcupine. Since I don’t have a dog right now, I didn’t mind and went over to say hi. It slowly climbed up a pear tree so I left it alone. Unless there’s a dog around, I like them.

      15+
      1. I love the pile of pine needles metamorphosis. My neighbor and her cat watched an extremely pregnant porcupine early the other morning. Did you know that there babies are called porcupettes?

        2+
  7. Well, two things for me this week.

    (a) My old car finally hit the point where it was too expensive to keep repairing any more, so I got a new car which I will hopefully not have to take to get repaired any time soon. It is very pretty and easy to drive and has all the tech goodies.

    (b) This week’s crush update: I saw him twice this week. Now I still think he is not interested romantically as yet, at least (I think he is still a bit hung up on the last ex that broke up with him as well, so maybe I’m just not on the radar). However, after karaoke closed this week he hung out talking with me for almost two hours…till like 1 a.m. in the parking lot, y’all. Make of this what you will.

    As for yesterday, we were at the memorial for another friend’s deceased mom and then hung out afterward, and after the third friend went home, he and I went to the friend with the deceased’s mom’s house and hung out and then we all hiked around the river for a while. So that was fun.

    So….very slow burn, I guess. If ever.

    Sadly due to holiday not-a-weekend I will only see him about once next week and then after that I think our rehearsal schedule gets more frequent, so there’s that. I’m just hoping that the friendship develops well enough so that we keep talking after rehearsals are over and don’t have specific reason to see each other. *crosses fingers*

    14+
  8. Happiness is looking at my gardens. Only downside are the weeds. Grrrr

    And G-daughters have picked the colours for their playhouse. If we paint both inside and outside, we should be able to use all the colours they picked. Older, Gray drew their house, labels all the parts with the colours for the outside. Young, Royal has picked many, many colours, “because I like that colour” so, I am thinking we will paint the ceiling inside and paint yellow/gold stars, a la Agnes’s gazebo. And use the rest of the colours on the mural on the fence. Yeah, that should work. I have a feeling my garden shed will have flowers painted on the sides too. Creativity rules.

    13+
    1. I’m sitting at a barbecue with my extended family. I’m so happy and just content.

      This after days of dehoarding. Reducing helps. Still have more to do. But now basking in the love. And I’m sleeping over!!! So pleased.

      12+
  9. So my brother has daughters and his daughters are not only strong and agile, but really physically self-confident and adventurous, which is absolutely glorious to see and something I believe he deserves enormous credit for as a parent. And his five year old went mutton busting this weekend, in her pink poodle leggings and got a trophy and had a great time. I am so proud of them and happy for them. On some level, consciously or otherwise, it’s a choice every day to be a good parent and make your kids’ world bigger and he shows up for that, and his girls absolutely believe he has their backs moving into that big world. I feel so joyful and lucky to get to see it up close.

    Purely selfish happiness is that I got rid of some stuff. I am quite full of myself for this because 1. I am prone to having too much stuff and 2. Since the squishing, I can’t access a lot of stuff so I get duplicates and 3. My house is not accessible so more duplicates and 4. I am very conflict avoidant about how stuff gets put away often leading to more duplicates which all combined has led to too much stuff (a lot of which is exactly the same). So I went through (I am ashamed to say how many) boxes of bathroom gear and now have only 2 electric toothbrushes (5 in donation box), 2 blow dryers (3 in donation box), 0 curling irons (wtf curling irons seriously?!? 7 in donation box), 2 person scrubbies on a stick (3 used in trash, 12 unopened in donation box), and then 2 1/2 66qt plastic bins full of unopened/sealed/unexpired toothpaste/lotion/shampoo/soap/toothbrushes/toothbrush heads/tigers balm patches/first aid supplies/lip balm (dear god the lip balm)

    This made me brave and I am also rid of 4 blenders and 2 waffle irons, an ice cream churn, 3 rice makers and 2 crock pots.

    Now I have to figure out what I can actually do to address my excellent nieces’ desire for more mail. They get magazines and project boxes so I am sort of flailing.

    16+
    1. When my niece went off to college I gave her 10 postcards that were already stamped and addressed to me and told her that every time she mailed one to me I would write back. She didn’t have to write anything on them if she didn’t want to, but I did say that a signature would be nice. I gave her all my funniest postcards and looked for the most unusual things to send in reply.
      It worked beautifully on several levels.
      1) We both were not faced with empty mailboxes.
      2) She felt that not everything was out of her control.
      3) The cards could be used to start conversations until she got to know people on campus.
      4) It reminded her that the better you are at staying in touch with people, the more they will try to stay in touch with you.
      5) She got some really funny stuff to put on her bulletin board.

      She’s now 34 and communicates primarily by text message and email, but the lessons learned about staying in contact have been very useful now that she travels a lot for her job.

      And as I was cleaning out an old dresser drawer I found a disintegrating paper bag with all the cards she sent me her freshman year. Since I didn’t have a computer I couldn’t email her then, but I doubt that I’d have any record of it now if I had.

      12+
      1. Okay, the postcard plan is absolutely genius. Thank you so much. The 5 year old is working on writing, so if she has a bunch pre-addressed to me and her biggest sister and her shares-a-birthday-cousin and her granny and grandparents, all of whom will respond (esp if I presupply them all with postcards!), she will be very into it. Really thank you. I try all the time to figure out ways to support my brother and sister-in-law in making the girls’ lives bigger without making more work for already very busy parents and this is just so effortless for everyone and very kind of you to share.

        9+
      1. Little kids riding sheep. They wear helmets so when they fall off, they don’t get hurt.

        3+
      2. And they also wore vests with plates in them in case they got kicked. She had a long conversation with the rodeo queen about how the helmets were so important because you only get one brain, so you wed to watch it with your head.

        1+
    1. Eh, it all worked together: I pictured you in a yard filled with family, where Carol’s granddaughters painted everything in sight.

      8+
  10. Home safe from our annual family reunion. It was a stripped-down version of the week in the woods: no big art projects or treasure hunts or making stir fry for 35 people. Well, we made chicken tacos for 25, which was still a lot of chopping.

    It’s a delight to see the cousins get along so well, which is the upside of their smartphone obsession – from east coast to west, they all follow each other on social media. I would have been happy to see less of the phones, but that’s me being old school. Everyone interacted and shared and laughed a LOT – no cutting back there.

    4+
  11. My sister found her computer cord, friend found her expensive shoes and car paperwork, so if BIL finds his lawn mower battery, all the misterious missing things will have reappeared.

    Helped with a cleanup project followed by a swim, so it feels like summer.

    4+
  12. Editorial board meeting, one time I can exploit being out-of-the-box creative, with smart people I like.

    Heard from an old friend I was afraid was former, and we arranged a lunch meet.

    Met with our designer – around here, really the sole way to finagle a general contractor [no one yet on board]. Approved all kitchen and bathroom choices. Details of appliances, etc., still to come, but huge weight off to know we’re working with someone who gets both our style and our limits. Plus, tile, flooring, wallpaper, paint, color, pattern and room configuration all decided in a couple hours, not years. Whew. Anyone know a good contractor?

    Bonus happy: Saw and liked the movie Late Night. Mindy Kaling wrote a fine script, with great casting, terrific performances. Aaaand — popcorn.

    6+
  13. Last week was stressful–Mom’s ankle incision got infected. However, it appears to be healing nicely with the help of antibiotics and thrice-weekly visits from a nurse who changes the dressings. (Medicare rocks!)

    But this week I am visiting a friend in Richmond for the 4th. Very excited to have a few real days off. Wine, conversation, a river visit… we always have a good time.

    6+
  14. When I read, “Happiness is Stripping Down,” several disparate thoughts occurred to me. None of them, until I started typing, involved going to New Jersey with a fist full of ones. That would be tacky. No the first thought was gardening in the nude, and hadn’t we already done that? (Yes, we have.) The second was preparing for painting, which I’m not and wouldn’t. The last (or at least third) was dressing for the weather. I am dressed for the weather – I’m wearing boxers and a shirt, bare feet, and an air-conditioned room.

    Reading the blog and realizing that “stripping down” was interchangeable with “paring away,” I said aloud, “That’s what I have been doing!” You see, I finally applied for Social Security, and I need my Social Security Card and birth certificate, neither of which I could find. [I just realized where my SSCard was and Lo! There it was.] What I did find, in a hanging file, was non-certified copies of birth certificates; mine, the late wife’s, my son’s, my daughters, My dad’s and mom’s.

    In the file box, I also found tax records and correspondence dating back to 1997, plus warranty and owners’ manuals for everything I bought in the last twenty years. Also other stuff. Does any individual not running a business need more than the three most recent years tax records? Well, I own a shredder. I wouldn’t want anyone to be able to reconstruct my identity from that stuff, so it has been doing its job. Owners’ Manuals just get recycled in the paper bin. Warranties with identity info get shredded.

    Medical records have been downloaded as PDF files and stored in five or six locations, so all the paper got recycled.

    There are three file boxes. One of them is just printer supplies, and it just needed sorting. The other two got stripped down.

    7+
    1. Social Security may require a CERTIFIED copy of your birth certificate, but it will be easy to order one if you have an information copy, not certified, at hand, because the serial number is there. Order from the local jurisdiction if possible, rather than the state; it’s usually cheaper.

      Sincerely, the genealogist . . . .

      7+
      1. Thank you, Ann! My copy is a facsimile (aka a Xerox or photo copy or whatever word is in vogue) of a certified copy. It shouldn’t be a problem.

        2+
    2. My parents say keep seven years of tax info. Is that the limit the government can request to review? That would be the only reason I can think to keep them.

      3+
      1. That’s what it is in the UK, if you’re self-employed (I have a feeling it applied to Mum’s estate, too, for which I was executor. I’ve still got those papers, anyway).

        1+
      2. I kept 3 years of paper copies and a total of 9 years of PDF files on various drives and a couple of DVDs. That should be adequate to needs.

        1+
  15. Happiness was a paella picnic with friends in our backyard yesterday, and then watching The Greatest Showman which they had not seen before.

    Fighting with unemployment anxiety and dwindling checking account, not so happy, but we find it where we can.

    4+

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