Happiness Abounds

The weather here is freaking gorgeous, the dogs are snoozing, I’m making progress on the house and Nita, and I’m feeling fine.  Happiness abounds.  

How were you abounded by happiness this week?

101 thoughts on “Happiness Abounds

    1. Progress inspires so much happiness, doesn’t it? Sometimes I feel like more than the completed project. 🙂

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    2. Wait, is the ice cream the Clogged Arteries????? Did you ever post an update on what she sent you? Can you tell I’m playing catch up with these posts?

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  1. I felt a little low. So I tried a minimum-ingredient recipe. It was yoghurt and self-raising flour naan. Felt teeny bit better, but not enough. So I walked to the local store and bought cream and walked home and made 3-ingredient scones. Everything turned out pretty good.

    I feel like I can do some work for work now. At least I have a lot of Working Wednesday pics.

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    1. Ooh and earlier in the week I made dinner for another partner and we played Sushi Go with my housemate. Homemade vegan mozzarella sticks–so good.

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  2. I didn’t update crush situation last week (wasn’t much to tell, sadly) and I may not be able to update the next few Sundays either since I am coming back from out of town events. I went to the state fair and did silent disco, which is fun, and play rehearsals are getting wackier. Like “we’re doing Shakespeare and suddenly the director wants to throw in a Monty Python song?”” level of wackadoo. Like we’re going from “all the world’s a stage” to “always look at the bright side of life.” I’m just guessing if she’s going to turn the song I was supposed to do about lovers and goats into “Every Sperm is Sacred” or “Muskrat Love.”

    I heard the song “I’d Lie” by Taylor Swift (who I am not too into when she is in asshole mode) and loved it because it is me. Also, there is an Olicity video of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZAn3P0IOBE

    Anyway: last week I was annoyed at crush when we weren’t having much moments together, and then came karaoke this week, in which we ended up talking outside the bar again until about 1:30 in the morning. Score! So thrilled! I love that somehow I’m that compelling to have that late night of conversations about. It’s not exactly the 36 questions but kind of borderlining on that? I feel like if this continues things could go somewhere. I vacillate between “this is never gonna happen” and “it could,” but since my psychic powers aren’t super working, who knows.

    Though on the less good side, I think someone else working at the theater (who was also around for that late night conversation) now has a crush on me after that and of course I’m not interested in that one back and fuuuuuck I did not want that to happen. Crush also has so much mentionitis about his ex, like damn, dude. (I don’t know how recent the breakup was, other than he has been single as long as I’ve known him since spring and it was her idea and they are still in contact on social media.) And when his other crush is around, clearly she’s the priority and getting the warm eye gazes, not me. It’s only at karaoke when the other one isn’t around that I get more priority and talking.

    All the tarot readings I do are getting “wait, wait, wait.” I don’t know if that’s a “wait and it could happen” or just “who the fuck knows, even the universe doesn’t know,” but I fear the latter. I have never had a relationship where it took someone else so long to get interested before–it’s always been instalove for me and exes–so hell if I know on that sort of slow thing. It’s so weird. I don’t get how people take so long other than in fiction and romance novels!

    I dunno… I get that his brain is elsewhere right now and he likes me well enough. If we were going to keep hanging out a lot, maybe eventually. I don’t know how much that will continue once the play is over, and/or whenever people stop going to karaoke when the bad weather hits or whatever. We’re not at the point where we’d be talking much outside of contexts, it feels like that is slowly going? I said I’d be fine with slow but it’s frustrating, as it turns out. Working on getting over the dude is not really a thing I shall be doing while rehearsal is going on. I am going to other events this month and I’m going to hope I meet someone else who would be interested back, but since I don’t really do activities where one meets straight single dudes younger than 60, probably not.

    So yeah, that’s the news for now.

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  3. When I’m working on my manifesto,* I am as happy as the very happiest mollusc. Part of it is that I just love crafting a good argument. But I think a lot of my happiness has to do with controlling my own narrative; it feels quite healing.

    Also happy that it is hot and summery, & that I have clean water to drink and a community that interests me. Less happy about my younger dog’s new habit of collecting rocks — she finds them throughout the yard, picks them up, and reorganizes them into tidy little piles. Not only is this inconvenient (like when I go to sit down and discover a miniature stone circle on my chair), but I’m sure it is very bad for her teeth. I am eagerly looking forward to the day when her screwy little brain turns to some new obsession, but also giving her extra kisses just because I do love weirdos.

    * Not a real manifesto. It’s actually a pretty necessary community resource…but more fun to write as though I am organizing the revolution.

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    1. I’m going to steal the idea of a manifesto from you. The non-fiction manuscript I’m working on is a resource for patients with rare disorders, and that seems worthy of being a manifesto! It’s definitely filled with my belief that doctors need to listen to patients more, especially those with rare disorders who may well know more than the doctor does about their particular disorder.

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      1. Speaking as someone with a couple of autoimmune things (one commonish, one rare, bad and very challenging to treat) complicated by an unusual set of acquired disabilities, good luck to your readers finding those listening doctors. I worked at a med school before I got hurt and went to a couple of the best rehabs in the country afterwards. In rehab, everyone says learn what your body needs and how to advocate for yourself and be prepared to do it unceasingly. Unceasing advocacy is the bare minimum necessary, if what you want is to stay alive, I have found, and it is exhausting and not fun.

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        1. You know what’s ironic? I’ve had a wide variety of doctors, and the ones who are absolutely the best at listening are the ones who are the very top experts in their field, not the sort of average (or worse) ones. I’ve been lucky to work with the top experts in the relevant field for my disorder (in clinical trials, rather than treatment per se), and maybe it’s just a fluke, but in my experience the clinicians who really, really know their stuff, and have the credentials to tell patients to shut up if so inclined, would never actually do it!

          But, yeah, it’s exhausting to advocate for oneself on top of the medical condition itself! And the popular maxim that patients are the real experts is only paid lip-service to (if that). I’m grateful for my ability to advocate for myself, and am scared by how many patients don’t have that skill.

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          1. Yes – the two best (doctor) listeners I know are at the absolute top of their fields. Ridiculously smart and talented and knowledgeable and relentlessly curious. Excellent teachers and explainers. One of them said to me “the less they know, the less they hear. get good at saying no and telling people to go read your chart and come back.”

            People talk about medical mistakes but when clinicians are making those “mistakes” they are 100% sure they are right, and 85% of the time the patient knows they’re not.

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      2. As someone who spent years undiagnosed with a little understood disorder and who has a number of friends with rare disorders, I hope your manifesto is widely read. xxx

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        1. My Mom used to go to doctor’s appointments with a friend of hers to help remember what the doctor said. But I think that it would often be a good idea to take someone to get the doctor listen to the patient. If your manifesto helps with that, it will be a godsend.

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          1. My Mom goes and takes notes. And pops up with “didn’t you tell me your knee was hurting after that last shot?” or whatever. She keeps separate notebooks for Dad, her sister, and herself.

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    2. My cat Io used to bring me rhododendron leaves. This went on for an entire season. She knew we ate salads, which she did not get. So I think she thought she was providing me salad makings. She was a stray we found and probably felt it was necessary to contribute so we would not abandon her either. She was a good cat.

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      1. Okay, no, she was an excellent cat. I had a cat that harvested every tomato while still hard and green (we had araucanas, I am sure he thought they were misplaced eggs). I am a big fan of the creative animal community member. (Possibly obvious!)

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    3. I have a friend whose old Lab used to pack rocks around. She seemed to know just how much bite force to use to keep them in her mouth, not swallow them, and not hurt herself. I don’t think she ever damaged her teeth and she carried rocks from puppyhood until old age.

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      1. That’s a reassuring piece of anecdata! Chama does not swallow or bite her rocks, but she does treasure them in a sneaky sort of way. She’ll come in the house with her most innocent expression, and even lie down for a nap. Later — like sometimes as much as an hour later — I will be quietly working and hear a weird sucking sound coming from down near my feet. There she is, happily spitting a new rock onto the floor, admiring it, picking it up again, and rolling it around her mouth. I think she hides them in her cheeks.

        It’s a recent obsession, and she’s a deeply weird little dog. Previous obsessions have included a variety of intensely prized toys (which also get arranged into little piles, and fretted over, and carefully treasured), my hair (SO GLAD THAT ONE IS OVER), and a brief period where she experimented with dropping all her toys into the toilet. So maybe it will pass, or maybe it will morph into something even more irritating, but for now I’m just glad to think that maybe she’ll get to keep her teeth!

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  4. I’m happy to have submitted my non-fiction proposal to my agent, and now it’s the usual publishing thing of waiting, waiting, waiting for a response. (My agent is actually a quick responder, but it still takes time. And she got right back to me to give me a rough idea of when to expect a response.)

    Also happy that that the black raspberries, which usually ripen the first week of July are finally starting to turn black. Ate a handful of them yesterday, but need to weedwhack a path to get to the rest.

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  5. I had a few happythings this week: The IKEA stuff, that Fiancé joined in on deciding things for the house, that I finally listened to that Live-CD I mentioned yesterday and that the bami goreng I made turned out pretty OK. That I saw one of the ladies from the crafting club last Tuesday, took a walk with her and had chai latte with her and went with her home and had late lunch and laughed and joked and just…enjoyed the day with her.

    But anxity has plagued me more these last two weeks than the last 2 years put together and it’s getting really really heavy. That sort of rules out all the happythings. Sleeping brings no relief because of nightmares – I almost always have them, but they’re worse than normal again. I can recognize the pressure, the burning chains around my chest for what it is and so far it has helped me hold the panic in check, but it’s not easy. When I woke up this morning I could barely breathe at all. It feels like it’s only getting worse and worse, and of course it has its reasons but I don’t know how to solve things right now so I’m sort of caught up in all the shit and don’t know how to sort it out.

    I feel like I shouldn’t even post this here because this is a happyness-post but I really need to get it off my chest. Maybe breathing gets a bit easier then. I hope that’s OK. 🙁

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    1. So glad you shared, Shass. And yes I think this is a fine place for your post because it’s a happy for all of us that you’re part of the community and willing to share your feelings.

      Anxiety can be tough to manage even when we know it’s a messenger of sorts. I hope you feel better soon:)

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    2. Shass, holding things in make them worse, at least for me it does. Sharing with a caring community like Aargh opens up a way to let the anxieties out, recognize them, and give yourself breathing space to find a way to resolve them. I hope that made sense. Hugs!

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    3. Of course, it’s okay. Wish I had better advice. Music and going outside are my best anti-anxiety methods but they’re not foolproof. Exercise.
      But really, I think you have to locate the source and kneecap it.

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    4. I think – I know that at least for me, it is the secrets that fester and are dangerous and properly crippling. How can it be wrong to choose away from that, Shass? You are choosing to want relief from a painful thing, to have deeper breaths – those can only bring you closer to happiness and you deserve to be celebrated for the courage of that choice. Thank you for sharing it.

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    5. Anxiety is a bitch. Mine has ramped up (combo of menopause hormones and Life, I think) recently. I take meds for it, but there is a limit to what they can do, or how often I can take them. Exercise helps, when I can manage it, and puttering in the garden, and reading.

      I hope you feel better soon.

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    6. Sending you good thoughts and hugs. I will do some deep breathing on your behalf. You are loved and valued here. I am glad you felt you could share your unhappiness. Wishing calm and peace for everyone who is struggling today.

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    7. Like everyone else, I’m glad you shared. And I’m impressed that you can still think of the happy things while the anxiety’s weighing you down. I hope you find an answer to it very soon.

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    8. I have said it before and I’ll say it again: You Arghcherries are the very very very best kind of people. Thank you for your kind and heartwarming words. I’m speechless. <3 <3 <3 It's a huge relief that people like you exist. <3 <3 <3 You've all saved my sanity more than once already.
      It's also great not to have to pretend to be fine when you're not. I'm doing that far too much as it is.

      @KatyL: Thank you thank you for those words! Had to wipe away some tears there. <3

      @Rouwan: Yeah, keeping it in makes it worse for me too. I do it a lot because I don't always feel I have somewhere to drop it. Almost a year free from the shrinks and I don't always feel comfortable sharing things with my family. And I don't really have any friends here in NL, the ones I have back in Sweden have so many problems of their own I… just can't. Your hug made wonders, thank you! <3

      @Jenny: Kneecapping is my melody. Or it will be when I'm (hopefully) over the stage of wanting to curl up in foetal position and not get up again. Playing hardrock and metal on voluminous volumes today to get some of it out. Queueing all the angry tracks. <3

      @Anne V: I had to cry a little bit more now. Thank you! I'm trying to see it as a good thing and not as a burden to others. Really trying. <3

      @Kate George: All the calming vibes and hugs back to you! I hope we'll soon both feel fit for kneecapping and buttkicking. We deserve that strenght. <3

      @JenniferNennifer: Thank you! Get that oxygen coming! <3

      @Deborah Blake: I'm free from antidepressants since 2 years and shrink for almost one, so I don't even had a go-to for relief right now. I've felt good about that for a long time, but right now I wish I had a ton of boxes of that stuff because ugh. Thanks for your message! <3

      @Sarah C.: And there came them tears again. Thanks for all your kind and sweet words, hugs and deep breathing. I hope I'll be able to get rid of this soon because I want to share happy things and not this crap. <3

      @Reb: Probably a result of years with the shrink, being able to pick out some cherries from an otherwise unedible cake. Or perhaps it's wishful thinking – I want the happy things to weigh heavier so I'm making a point of finding them. I don't know. Thanks for your words- <3

      All of you. <3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3

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      1. I used to love nightmares, or any scary or other negative dream that I managed to recall. This was becauseI tried doing a kind of Gestalt exercise with a dream notebook that I was keeping. In that exercise, you pick the loudest, scariest thing in the dream, and retell the dream in writing from that thing’s perspective.

        If it’s someone chasing you, you describe the dream as the chaser. If it’s a storm that threatens you, you are the storm. If it’s a sad, inefficient, complaining waiter at a restaurant, you are the waiter, describing his many problems with customers like yourself. If it’s a car problem, you are the car, etc. etc.

        In nearly every case, the process made me feel a tiny bit better after writing it, but the payoff was that the next day, when I read the story from the killer’s/ storm’s/ waiter’s/ car’s perspective, it gave me real insight into something I had not been aware of, or a way of thinking about myself or my life that had never occurred to me. It’s all based on the idea that in any dream, your subconscious mind casts all the parts and writes all the scripts based on what it knows. And I realized how much I didn’t know about my subconscious mind. It was like little nuggets of Zen therapy. And long term, I realized that anything that was causing me anxiety or fear could be seen as a way I was trying to yell at myself and say “wake up!” in the most melodramatic way I could find.

        Meanwhile, best of luck! We would all like you to be super happy and to sleep with wonderful productive dreams.

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        1. You can have some of my nightmares, if you really want 😉 Interesting theories, I had never heard about this way of handling them before. Could be an interesting experiment to see what happens if I follow your steps. A kind of exploring of known-unkwnown terrain. Thank you!

          I was squeezed into an experimental therapy program some years ago for treating nightmares, but it didn’t work out for me. You were supposed to keep dream-diaries there too, and write down everything you dreamt as detailed as you could. When you’d done that, you had to rewrite the ending to a happier one, so you’d change the dream. For instance, if you dreamt you walked along a corridor to a door and opened it to find your family dead, you’d have to rewrite it into, say, you opening the door and finding your favourite teacher from school there pouring you a nice cup of cocoa and fluffly pillows saying she’d read you a story. Then you’d have to read your rewritten version before sleep. In theory, this would eventually lead to you being able to control the nightmares. It never worked for me, however. I had 0 % positive progress at the end of the therapy.

          Thing was, it was clearly written in the application form that this therapy most likely wouldn’t help for people with PTSD. 1,5 year or so later, it turned out I fit snugly in that compartment. So…that’s probably why it didn’t work. I mean, of course I was a PTSD:er already when I went through that therapy, I just hadn’t got the diagnosis yet. Unfortunately none of my therapies after that have removed the nightmares either, so I suppose I’m just stuck with that crap even if the rest has been quite nicely patched up.

          There is something they call “Chronic Nightmare Disorder”. Ugh.

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          1. For years, I’d wake up screaming because I hadn’t taken my cancer meds and the cancer had come back and I was going to die. It always took me a couple of minutes to realize that (a) it was a nightmare and (b) there are no cancer meds. They finally FINALLY stopped and I have no idea why. Maybe reality finally got through. to my subconscious. My big takeaway was that at some level I thought the cancer was my fault, which is insane, and that under that, it was my effort to exert control over random disease: it wasn’t random, I DID IT. There’s a reason I’ve been in and out of therapy for a thousand years.

            TLDR: Maybe once you work through it, they’ll just stop? Because recurrent nightmares suck.

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        2. This led to a hilarious phone conversation with my daughter. I described the technique and added, “But I hardly ever have true nightmares–more like a toilet’s overflowing. And who wants to write a script from the POV of a clogged toilet?”

          As SOON AS I said that, the script popped into my brain: “There’s too much stuff! I can’t handle it!”

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    9. Glad you are here to share. Argh is very much a safe space for me too.

      I’m weaning off the meds with Doc’s guidance, and I think I had an anxiety spike last Thursday and a depressive trough on Saturday and Sunday. So now I’m trying to play more. Playing like a child makes me produce the good chemical’s naturally.

      Try journaling. As in, keep a folded up page or a memo file on phone and note down what’s the worry now. Then tell yourself that you’ll worry about it on Tuesday at 7pm. It’s amazing how when you open up the file or page on Tuesday the worries seem small.

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        1. Jenny, I am trained in Counselling and this was one of the most effective anti-anxiety weapons in my arsenal.

          I used have people write it on bits of paper and put it in a box, or envelope. It works well because you set the worry or fear aside while you do what needs doing now. The best feeling is when you go back and read them, and you wonder why you worried about those things. It helps create new perspective for future anxiety.

          Today in ‘play like a child, I played with my hula-hoop and I skipped sideways on the top step to the driveway.

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      1. Argh is the very best place. <3

        Ah, journal, hm. I was a keen dairy-writer from -99 until sometime 2011 when it started to decrease and eventually ended sometime in… I don't even know when I last wrote something in my diary (a.k.a a USB-stick since 2005). But I'll try your idea by setting a reminder on my phone. Using reminders a lot lately to remember my meds (won't sleep if I don't take them at 9pm), so I'll try it for worries too. Thanks for the tip! <3

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  6. I am happy, specifically today, because I don’t have to pretend to be okay. I am very not okay today, and I don’t have to fake it and it’s such an enormous relief to get to be open with myself about where I am that even though I have all these feelings of sadness and frustration and grief, the not having to fake feeling fine to keep everyone else comforted has buoyed me up.

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    1. You know, that’s a lot of it, not ignoring the pressure and anxiety and sadness. Not wallowing in it but not trying to repress it.
      Especially with a community to tell you that you’re not alone and people care.

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    2. The trouble with trying to pass for calm/happy/ normal is that if you do it long enough, it leads to the thought that people won’t like you if you stop. And you have so much more energy for the rest of your life once you stop pretending.

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    3. The relief of knowing you don’t have to pretend has the strenght to lift mountains. It’s OK not to be OK. <3 If we can allow ourselves to complete the cycle – stress, grief, anger, whatever it is – we can let go of it and move on.* Repressing it and keeping it inside is like forcing an ocean to be content with the space of two cupped hands.
      Sending you all sorts of comforting hugs and good vibes and hope you'll feel better soon. <3

      * So I've read. Working on making it work.

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  7. I’m not happy either, although there is so much to be happy about. I can’t shake the feeling that I’m failing at life. which mostly means the financial aspects of life. Because I’ve got great friends and good dogs and a roof over my head.

    I now regret quitting the job that was killing me, because I can’t seem to get another (I’ve applied to dozens that I don’t really want but it’s the responsible thing to do) and it’s hard to make ends meet and then the car explodes. Sigh.

    I’m actually fine most of the time and then the EX will point out that I have another bill coming up – like propane for cooking and heating – and I crash into despair again. My mother would be so disappointed in me. She’d say that if I was going to dump my husband then I should have kept the job. So it’s probably just as well she’s not around to see me foundering. Not that I’d let her see, but she was very shrewd.

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    1. Have you tried applying to remote jobs, Kate? So many positions are remote these days and many reputable online job boards allow you to filter for remote-only positions. And it’s not just for tech stuff, there’s a whole variety out there, even places like charity village lists them. And good employers supply equipment as well if appropriate so no need to limit yourself to applying for jobs that need computer-related stuff you may not have on hand.

      Funny, though, how much perception plays a role in our feelings about ourselves. From my viewpoint you’re a total success in life–you write your own stories, you help other writers, you raised kids, care for animals, live in a nice place, and have good friends. And having the strength and courage to identify relationships or jobs that aren’t working and do something about it is a good thing. Not an easy thing, but here’s hoping another job is just around the corner:)

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    2. I’m sorry Kate. I feel like this often (it has been worse in the past, but often lurks at the edges of my mind), and it sucks. It sometimes helps to talk to other people, because it turns out that nobody I know has got life sorted out to any significant degree, but not always.

      FWIW, in my opinion, if you have great friends and good dogs, then you are well ahead of the game.

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    3. I have that feeling, too. That I’m failing at life.
      I hope you know we all appreciate you for who you are and for what you do and for what you love. Here you are not failing at anything. <3 Sending you all kinds of hugs and good wishes. Hope you'll find your peace of mind soon.

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    4. I think the failing at life stuff (which I go into too) is partly to do with being true to yourself, and therefore inevitably rejecting the ‘sensible’ path that the (hypercapitalist) culture says we should follow. That you’re supposed to generate profit above everything else – and, of course, not doing that is risky at the practical survival level (which is why your inner mother’s worried). And then there’s reaching your fifties or sixties and feeling you missed the boat.

      We’re pioneers, and I want to live in a world where more people are true to themselves. But it can be hard to value what I’ve done with my life when there’s so little, materially, to show for it.

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  8. Star Trek Discovery was way more enjoyable than I’d anticipated. I’ve been able to get out first thing most mornings this week for exercise, before the broiling ball of fur in the sky makes it way too hot. And my house evaporative cooler makes me very happy.

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  9. Weather. Hot, but at least it’s a wet heat. Humid, I mean, no rain is sight. My air conditioner continues to work its liddle heart out, reducing the 98F outside to just 78F inside.

    Happiness? Got some. The insurance company sent me a check based on paying off my creditor and having value left over from the totaled Taurus. No need to curtail the Sunday Dinner and shopping therapy outings with the dotter. But that’s chronic happiness, and I had acute happiness this morning.

    Breakfast was a Garmuffin. That’s very similar to a McMuffin – Canadian bacon, egg, English Muffin – but with Swiss cheese instead of American. The egg, of course was local, i.e.American. Very international. We Americans eat very international cuisine, you see, such as Belgian waffles or French toast. Maybe a Danish. Colombian coffee. The point is, it was extremely delicious and made me happy.

    That should last me until the dotter dinner.

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      1. In the Grand Scheme of Things, the Sunday Dinners are nothing to worry about. But they’re my nothing. Tonight we went to Outback, where I use my AARP discount. I had six ounces of medium rare sirloin and a side of grilled shrimp with broccoli. Shopping after included Target, Michael’s and Walmart. Therapy complete.

        I must digress. First, I must observe that it is a good thing to try foods you hate from time to time to see if you still hate them. That’s me and grilled shrimp. I don’t know about fried shrimp – those and fried chicken, pretty much fried anything, are not on my diet. But I’ve tried the grilled shrimp at all of our shortlist of restaurants, and liked them everywhere. This dislike of shrimp goes back sixty years. I’m over it.

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        1. yes, at some point I went from hating mushrooms to loving them. My life would be less joyful if I had never tried them again. Mmmmmm, sauteed mushrooms. That’s not fried, right?

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          1. This is a good question. Something sautéed in olive oil or canola is not the same as something deep-fried, right? Much less oil, healthy oil? Probably healthy food? I’m evidently supposed to be limiting friend foods and red meat–HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA on the red meat–and I looked at my stir fry last night and said, “This is not fried.” Denial is strong in this one.

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          2. Stir-frying is a fast way to cook small pieces of food in a hot pan or wok. … In addition to being quick and easy, stir-frying is also healthy. It results in tender-crisp vegetables that retain more nutrients than if they were boiled. And since stir-frying requires only a small amount of oil, the fat content is low

            My nutritionist said that stir-frying is the only kind of “frying” I should do. I got my wok at Walmart for about $5 or $6. Stir fry over brown rice, mmmmm.

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          3. They all use oil as a medium for heat delivery. The only true difference between a sauté and a pan fry is that in a sauté, the food is cut into small pieces and in a pan fry, it is left in larger pieces, like a fillet. The only difference between a shallow fry and a deep fry is the depth of the oil. Apr 30, 2010

            Google can frequently throw an answer where you want it. Sauté vs stir-fry involves the amount of oil involved, less for stir-fry, which is why I’m allowed to do it and still use “diet” in the description. But heck, I sauté onions and garlic and mushrooms in a bit of butter in the wok before I toss in the water chestnut bits and bamboo shoots and bean sprouts and pork slivers and those tiny ears of corn.

            If I dump in a can of pineapple chunks, I call it Polynesian instead of Oriental.

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          4. Out of nesting, but Jenny, I love your “friend foods” typo. Fried foods certainly feel like friends!

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  10. A tough week – one of my closest friends came to stay with us as her father had a heart attack and subsequently died She lives out of province and came without her family. I knew him through her and like many families, the dynamics were complicated. Her father’s death stirred up lots of emotions about my mother’s death 3 years ago. I was coping but felt burnt out by the end of the week, so went to a yoga class for some stretching and relaxation – turned out to be a very active warm yoga class. I was a sweaty mess after 5 mins but felt much better afterwards. Have spent much of the rest of the weekend gardening, which is always restorative.

    11+
    1. I had one of those classes a few weeks ago. Dad was in ICU for heart failure (he’s doing great now!) but I was a tense ball of stress and thought “hey, it’s Tuesday night – stretching class is at 7 at the gym. So off me, spouse and 2 kids go. We were all sweaty messes afterwards. And sore for days, even my 9 and 11 year old kids. Turns out teacher likes to mix it up so some days we get gentle stretching and others we get full on workouts.

      4+
  11. My happy this week was discovering that the weighted blanket that we bought for Tall Boy, who is a very bad sleeper and wanted to like it but found the blanket too hot, works great for me when he’s working nights. This morning I woke up in a nest made of the weighted blanket, the regular comforter and the top sheet. I haven’t slept that well in ages. I was skeptical about them but for me at least they seem to help me sleep better. Here’s hoping tonight is a replay of last night, I could use the sleep. It’s a 15 lb single-person blanket.

    11+
    1. Weird – just this morning one of my sisters sent a family text asking about weighted blankets. Thanks for sharing your story.

      6+
    2. If they help dogs during thunderstorms, why not people during anxiety? It sounds eminently logical to me. Maybe Shass could get some help from one, too.

      4+
  12. How wonderful to hear that “happiness abounds” for you.

    At best, I’d have to say I’m merely “happiness adjacent”, and that might be pushing it a bit. I come from a long line of folks who can find the dark cloud for any silver lining and that super-power seems to be in full force at the moment.

    Ah well, this too shall pass.

    In the meantime, I’m currently working my way through a Julia Child cookbook – giving my new KitchenAid mixer a work-out. I made brioche dough which was totally worth the 30-minutes that the recipe insisted it needed to be mixed. The first half that I baked was delicious. The second half is on it’s way to becoming pecan sticky buns – ostensibly to be taken in to the office in the morning and shared, but . . .

    11+
    1. I have been craving brioche buns for sandwiches and not finding any here. Not sure if I’m ready to make my own, but that sounds inspiring.

      5+
      1. It really was minimal effort for maximum deliciousness. I wouldn’t have wanted to do it without the stand-mixer though. 30 minutes of mixing is a loooonnng time.

        3+
  13. In yesterday’s edition of Fun for Under $5, I walked four miles, hit six rummage sales and came home with only three things. Because the fourth thing was a cookie.

    15+
    1. I assume the rules of chocolate can be extended to other things. This is clearly a recasting of rule 3 below, to wit: The problem: How to get a cookie home from the rummage sale on a hot walk. The solution: Eat it on the way.

      The RULES of chocolate

      1. If you’ve got melted chocolate all over your hands, you’re eating it too slowly.
      2. Chocolate covered raisins, cherries, orange slices & strawberries all count as fruit, so eat as many as you want.
      3. The problem: How to get 2 pounds of chocolate home from the store in a hot car. The solution: Eat it in the parking lot.
      4. Diet tip: Eat a chocolate bar before each meal. It’ll take the edge off your appetite and you’ll eat less.
      5. If calories are an issue, store your chocolate on top of the fridge. Calories are afraid of heights, and they will jump out of the chocolate to protect themselves.
      6. If I eat equal amounts of dark chocolate and white chocolate, is that a balanced diet? Don’t they actually counteract each other?
      7. Money talks. Chocolate sings.
      8. Chocolate has many preservatives. Preservatives make you look younger.
      9. Q. Why is there no such organization as Chocoholics Anonymous? A. Because no one wants to quit.
      10. Put “eat chocolate” at the top of your list of things to do today. That way, at least you’ll get one thing done.
      11. A nice box of chocolates can provide your total daily intake of calories in one place. Isn’t that handy?
      12. If you can’t eat all your chocolate, it will keep in the freezer.But if you can’t eat all your chocolate, what’s wrong with you?

      7+
  14. Enjoyed my garden visits this week, especially striking up conversations with strangers I bumped into. I’m getting more and more fruit, plus lots of salads, from my allotment and garden. And it was decided this morning that whoever wants to should scrump the Morello cherries on the primary school’s neglected plot. There should be pears later, too. And I discovered another plot-holder who’s growing an apricot – which is my dream.

    So, abundance in my life, which is one of the best things about allotments. And things are starting to flower in the garden, although almost everything I sowed direct has been eaten, so there’s a lot of bare soil. First vase of sweet peas the other day. And the first tomatoes should be ready tomorrow or Tuesday.

    13+
    1. Garden envy. I have to grow my tomatoes in pots on the deck in order for them to get enough sunlight but they don’t seem to produce as well as tomatoes grown in the ground. And my pole beans this year had a hard time fighting off the slugs so they are not particularly lush. And last year they were wonderful. Sigh. However, my blue milkweed, not only wintered over in a pot, it produced a bunch of seeds and I have about 10 seedlings. Of course, I am now concerned that if it is doing that well, is it possible that it will be invasive. I can never let well enough alone and just be happy that something is doing well.

      6+
      1. I think that’s the gardener’s condition, viewed from one direction. The upside is that we’re observing all the time, trying to make sense on nature.

        And my French beans – first two sowings – have all been eaten by slugs. I was going to start some more in pots, but today just had another go at direct sowing, in a different bed. I’ll probably fail again. Luckily, the fruit is idiot-proof: I just need to net it.

        6+
      2. There is a miraculous non-toxic fix for slugs. There are a few brands–the one I usually get is called “Sluggo”–and it contains iron phosphate, which is safe for pets, people, and can be used in organic gardens. Works like a charm. I’m sure they have it under one name or another where you are. You literally just sprinkle it around your plants and the slugs vanish.

        8+
          1. Beer in a baking sheet. The slugs climb in, get drunk (or too wet or something) and die because they can’t get out.

            3+
    2. I am so jealous of allotment culture. I share a plot in a community garden here, but somehow all the allotments I’ve seen while traveling or on TV seem better.

      1+
  15. House has been full of grandchildren, ages six to eighteen, since Friday. Doesn’t get much more joyous than that.

    11+
    1. I submitted 3 knitting projects to the county fair and 2 of them won ribbons. I’m ridiculously pleased with myself. Note – the last time I entered something in the fair it was a macrame project so it’s been a while…..

      10+
  16. Happiness is being over jet lag and trying to catch up on 4 weeks of garden chores that were not done while I was traveling. And in two weeks I am going to my sister’s 55th high school reunion with her. She has never been, does not want to go alone and her husband did not want to go with her. It will be fun, I hope. I dated a bunch of guys from her class but I remember that there was a bumper crop of mean girls in her class – not that I paid much attention to them. Probably why they were mean. There is nothing worse that thinking you are something special and then being ignored.

    11+
  17. Had a great day yesterday supporting my activist group at the local pride fest. We registered a bunch of new voters and got some new members. It was a beautiful day, hot but not humid with shade in the park.
    Today was a bit mixed. My cousins and I went out to a restaurant I like but all they did was complain. I won’t go back there with them.
    My sister will be visiting later in July so I’ll be extra-cleaning the house this coming week and continuing my adulting: I got the will, power of attorney, and medical directive updated and notorized and now need to get together a list a assets and stuff with contact and account numbers so if something happens, my sisters won’t be completely floundering. Yuck.

    8+
  18. First off, sending light and comfort to everyone who had a hard week.

    My sister and I visited a cousin we don’t see very often, and it was lovely. Worth the 3 hour drive each way for a 26 hour visit, which included a trip to the Amish bulk store and exciting baked goods.

    11+
  19. You guys it rained (brought the temp down 9 degrees!) and my lummox of a dog went out and stood in the downpour like I don’t even know what. He came in literally dripping and was so pleased with himself, you’d’ve thought he invented rain. This having a largish dog is quite something!

    13+
  20. It rained here and watered my garden and some of the things that were fading bounced back. (I am afraid my eggplants are done for, alas.)

    Sent my shiny new nonfiction idea off to my Llewellyn editor and my agent, both of whom seem to like it. Started work on a cozy mystery, which is a completely new genre for me. It remains to be seen if I can write a mystery. At least there are lots of cats and dogs in it. But this one makes me more terrified than happy. We’ll see if next week I can report otherwise.

    Went to see the new Spiderman movie with the best friend today, and we both really liked it.

    Cleaned my messy desk. That always makes me happy.

    8+
  21. Envisioning and beaming out happiness vibes to all in need.

    The major Happy is when Petey Dog found the large pellet of rat poison (yes!) he delayed eating the delicacy in favor of bringing in his new toy to triumphantly show us. We don’t use rat poison, so there was A Talk with the neighbors. Somehow that pellet got over our surrounding wall.

    My book order arrived of all the Allinghams I could find on-line. Library, alas, has none, nor Michael Gilbert.

    Attended early-morning talk and brain-storming session put on by Balboa Park Conservancy on how to enhance the park. Said hi to a lot of friends and heard a lot of terrific ideas.

    6+
  22. I was not feeling happy today, so I called my sister. She had forgotten that our friends’ daughter is expecting twins in September. Once I reminded her, she raced off in search of baby yarn and patterns. So thanks to me those little girls will be welcomed with warmth and love. It isn’t as good as if I were providing the knitting myself, but considering the fact that I can’t knit, this is the best I can do. And I will continue to provide LOTS of picture books.

    7+
    1. Your gifts will last longer. They will never remember the knitted clothes. But Books Last Forever.

      6+
  23. I’ve got some stuff on the horizon that I’m absolutely dreading and I’m finding it hard to feel the happy. The problem with future nastiness is that it damages my present moment too. But reading everyone’s posts here has cheered me up quite a bit; thank you!

    I spent the weekend out at the campsite I planted native trees at and found that after 2 months, 36 of 37 seedlings are alive and most of them have grown a bit. That was a very good sight. We mulched them with a nice thick layer of pea straw and they look great. And I learnt how to use a brush cutter, which gave me a very satisfactory sense of achievement.

    And we lit an enormous bonfire just before the wind came up (oops) so we had to watch it all night. I should’ve felt frustrated about standing by a bonfire till 3am on a winter’s night but it was actually lovely. The flying sparks were beautiful, the night was quiet and peaceful, I was warm enough, and I had a good book. And the next day we roasted veges in the embers, which came out smoky and delicious.

    And there was a 10-year-old city kid there who was full of energy and had a ball. Watching him do some of the country things for the first time was great. Bonfire! Roasting potatoes! Riding on a trailer!! It’s so long since these things were new to me that I’d totally forgotten what it was like.

    10+
  24. I just wanted to say that reading these this morning (Monday) brought me happiness. Not that I’m elated that people have problems. But people are sharing their problems as well as their happinesses. I’m thrilled that this group welcomes both equally. I do love this community. You make my heart swell in a good way.

    9+
  25. Echoing Nancy H. While I’m so sorry for those who are in pain, a safe place to say “I hurt” is a miracle.
    On the happy front in my world is the new puppy. While housebreaking is a pain, she makes me grin every day. And my 13-yr-old dog both dotes on and is SO jealous of the puppy. My formerly quiet house sounds like a boarding kennel in the mornings with the woof/yip woof/yip of playtime.

    6+
      1. She’s a tiny little mixed breed; vet says there’s Shi Tzu and poodle in there and who knows what else. She does not photograph well because (1) she’s solid black and (2) her owner is an awful photographer.

        3+
  26. I have a new oven installed and working! That makes me happy. I can cook frozen pizza again! lol.

    6+
  27. I am managing to stay happiness-adjacent most of the time, thanks to liking where I live, liking my little purple house, having a garden and birds and time to write as much as I want, which seems to be a lot.

    As the unemployment gets longer (3.5 months now) anxiety is ramping up. There is only so much yoga can do. Every application that gets no response or a ‘no thanks’ is demoralizing and makes me feel I should have accepted that offer I got in March 2018 when I wasn’t even seriously looking. I thought then that taking a secretarial job would be a bad career move after going to all the trouble and expense of getting my paralegal certificate. At least if I had taken it, I would still HAVE an effing job.

    So today, happiness is the new growth on the wisteria.

    8+
  28. I got to sleep in my own bed last night, so that was 5.5 hours of happy! I’ve had to stay at my Mom’s while her ankle heals, except when I am traveling for work and sleeping in hotels.

    I’m glad I have been able to help my Mom out, but I CANNOT WAIT to be back in my home and beholden to no one.

    3+

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