Happiness is Connecting

You know those friends you have that you’ve lost touch with but have never forgotten? The kind that when you speak again, it feels as if you’ve never been apart? Krissie and I have always stayed in touch, but in the past weeks Julia and Alisa and Gretchen have parachuted back into my life to my intense pleasure and gratitude. I’ve talked with my brother and sister-in-law, the kind of family you cherish, even if you never see each other. Mollie and I check in more often. And then, of course, there’s Argh and all of you. I am so blessed with good people that it makes me happy just to think about you all and fills me with joy to connect.

What filled you with joy this week?

42 thoughts on “Happiness is Connecting

  1. I’ve been doing lots of yoga and the weather has been beautiful for running and family walks outside in the evening. The family walks are really nice and even the homebody child is going willingly.

    I don’t look at the news until 4 pm and then, only briefly.

    I was very indulgent yesterday and read a book straight through without stopping even though there were plenty of things to do.

    The roses in the garden will be blooming soon. I made sun butter chocolate chip oatmeal cookies and they turned out well.

    I feel if not ecstatic lately. . .content. And I feel thankful for all the good things in my life. That’s something I always try to do, but I think it’s especially important now.

  2. I’m in the U.K. and because I’ve had a blood cancer the government has classed me in the shielding extremely vulnerable group so I cannot go outside for a minimum of 12 weeks. I can however as we are lucky enough to have a garden go into that. My husband, because we are in our 70’s is also classed as vulnerable and advised to stay in for the same period so we are finding things to do. I’ve been doing a daily walk around the garden, listening to the birds and watching them gather material for their nests, my husband has been waking the garden up as shrubs are blooming and jobs need doing. Because of the categorisation we get priority for a food shop and I’ve finally got some flour and fruit so I will bake.

    We have books to read and puzzles to do and now unfettered time to do them in.

    I speak to my son and sister daily on the phone plus FaceTime with our son. We have family WhatsApp groups with nephews and nieces and I’m also on a lively craft group although I’m not really a crafter (I help run it) and as we can’t meet at the moment we have a WhatsApp group and we are supporting each other. Thank goodness for technology.

    We have lots to be thankful for at this time, our family and friends are currently safe and well. This is going to be a long haul, we are so thankful for our NHS, we see it first hand as my nephew in law is an advanced specialist nurse at a very busy hospital so on the front line.

    Stay safe and well all of you.

  3. I’ve been rearranging our living space to accommodate work and school at home. We have a house of four, and it doesn’t feel like a big space, especially when I’ve got two boys gaming online with their friends in what they think are their quiet voices. So I’ve spent the past week shifting things around, which I should have done years ago, and vacuuming up the colonies of dust bunnies. My sinuses hate me, but it is feeling better and I can now get to my collection of mythology and art books again. And at least I feel like I’ve achieved something.

  4. Mostly, my garden: my seedlings are thriving (must sow the second batch) and some of the new climbers are starting to flower, most exotically Akebia quinata (chocolate vine, but a cream form), which looks as exotic as its pictures. Also, as you say, friends reconnecting – had a couple of good chats this week. And my brother and I are talking more often.

    Finally started taking a few pictures again, and have just seen my first bluebells of the year on a walk with my camera. Also happy/relieved to have work for the rest of the month – especially since I can sit in the garden to do it, weather permitting.

  5. I made chocolate chip cookies. I am not supposed to eat cookies, but I made these with lots less sugar and decided to go for it.

    I also made pizza, something else I’m not supposed to eat, but made a cauliflower crust from scratch and used only veggies for toppings. The cauliflower crust wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t like a pizza crust either. Maybe if I bake out at a higher temperature it might get crispy all the way through, not just at the edges.

  6. Pudgy, our new favorite squirrel. We feed a whole lot of birds and squirrels in our yard, and little Pudgy has decided that we are not hostile, so she comes right up to the back door and sits on the ledge looking for us to give her one of the Good Nuts. The others are satisfied with the almonds and acorns scattered on the patio table, but Pudgy has dared the window ledge, where she can find pecans or occasionally a walnut. And she trusts us enough to take one from a hand, which is medal-of-honor bravery among squirrels.

    We think she must be the descendant of our two favorite squirrels of the past, Spotty (once injured with a large dot of missing fur on her back) and Helen (Wheels. She was aggressive as hell towards all the other squirrels, and ended up with only half a tail but an intact cantankerousness). All three of them share/shared the same wideset eyes and close-set ears, giving each of them an unusual inquisitive/anxious look to their faces that made them instantly recognizable when they would look straight at you.

    In her old age, Helen would totter up to the back door for a 3-kernel roast peanut, and then totter back to her third home that we knew of — a prickly evergreen in the yard behind us. Often that was the only time all day we’d see her. She lived to be at least 10 years old, which was pretty ancient for a squirrel.

    Spotty would engage in marathon nut burials, coming back after caching each nut in the closest possible spot near the back door, dashing back to the door for the next hand-delivered nut, then dashing off to bury that one in some unlikely place. She just failed to return one day after receiving and interring 37 nuts in a row, and we’ve missed her ever since.

    Pudgy has only been trusting us for maybe half a year, but her little squidgy face at the back window in the mornings makes the COVID-19 quarantine almost tolerable.

  7. I have been enjoying hearing the reports of my dear sister reaching out to people.

    I have discovered rum cake makes a lovely breakfast.

    I remembered to get out my Easter socks to wear when I go pick up my carryout ham and mashed potatoes order in a little while. Feeling thankful once again for all the food service workers who are providing a weekly bright spot in my life.

    1. We received a phone call this week from a member of our parish checking in on us and asking if we needed any help and to contact them if we did. We will get through this.

  8. Happiness is lovely weather, so my brother can bring his kids by on their walk to say hello to my parents at a distance. It’s finding extra grey and cream wool, when I’ve run out of knitted squares to finish the blanket, I’m trying to complete.

  9. I was so happy about not being fired over making a stand in re face masks and distancing at work that I drank my second Coronita Extra beer (7 oz) last night. It tasted pretty darn good. I’ve never been a beer drinker, so that worries me, now. It didn’t worry me last night. Maybe I need to name the bottles.

    Margarita. Heh-heh-heh.

  10. Just finished a Zoom Easter service for our little Congregational church, then a trans-Atlantic zoom with family in Germany and Cape Cod. Great to see the little kids enjoying the day, with baskets and having to eat something healthy before they eat some candy.
    It’s a bright windy day, and I’m going to settle down with the NYT crossword. Swallows coming to the birdhouse, so that’s a sign of the times.

  11. Yes connection is good.

    Not sure there is exactly a “happy” given the times, but did find a few spots of fun watching TV show casts do live table reads via internet of The Nanny and Grace & Frankie. The Nanny cast does the pilot episode and the Grace & Frankie folks do the 1st episode of the upcoming season (7) so bit of a preview as well.

    I’m hoping to find more casts doing these because they’re nice and some nice is good right now.

  12. Dear Jenny. Re Argh and filling you with joy to connect.

    I’m pretty sure I speak for most of Argh readers: the joy is ours 🙂

    1. I haven’t commented much lately because I haven’t done anything, but reading this blog has been my best connection with the outside world. All of you people have been my light in the darkness. And even if I haven’t been cooking, crafting or writing, hearing from those of you who have reminds me of the good things still around us.

  13. My neighbor brought deviled eggs and warm blueberry coffee cake over. She is a church organist in her retirement (well she is also on a couple of boards of directors, She is a retired executive and a major type A person. I am very fond of her but I have to admit I can’t live up to her) and she doesn’t have church services or her annual Easter dinner but still wanted to do something. So yes, it is wonderful having good friends.

    And I gave some garlic chive starts to two people who much appreciated them. In part because my garlic chives are hardy both in the ground and in pots which regular chives isn’t always. With weird things selling out in the stores (mayonnaise and green onions? that doesn’t even seem logical to me), having a home source of herbs is good.

    Plus a divided my salvia guaranitica “Argentine Skies”, two daylilies and three astilbe’s for a member of my husband’s tree team (they go around and prune small street trees for people who need it done. This is my husband’s retirement project) and left them on my front porch for her so we could maintain social distancing.

    It is good to know such great people.

  14. I went out in my front yard to water some potted plants and heard the family halfway down the hill from us having an egg hunt. That made me happy. And the sun is shining which is always a spirit lifter. And the sense of community here. It is a joy to hear about how everyone all around the country and the globe is doing. I hope you all continue to stay healthy. One last thing, one of my preschoolers is having a birthday next week and his mom has invited us all to a zoom birthday meeting. We can’t be together but we can all say happy birthday!

  15. It snowed again. Sigh. But I spent an hour on the phone with Son #1. And also my oldest daughter. Child #4 came for dinner last night and Child #3 is still asleep according to Son#1, but I’ll catch him later. The boys live together. I felt very connected with my kids today and that does make me happy.

    A bear got into my trash last night and dragged one of the cans out of the garage and down the hill. I can’t get the rollup door closed since I smashed the car into it. I tried hanging all my weight on the rope, but all that happened was my arms hurt. :-/

    1. Kate, are any of your children handy with tools or does the repair require a professional?

  16. Keeping in touch with my family AND Jenny and all the Argh people.

    But most off all I am happy because my daughter who lives in Auckland (and works in the hospital there) visited us (Canada) took us to visit family and friends 👬 in Vancouver and returned to Auckland just before the virus 🦠 started. She is well, and going to work. The family is all doing well at the moment.
    Well done Gary.
    Take care Argh people

  17. Hyacinth blooms have joined the daffodils and the dogtooth violets will soon follow. My tarragon, mint, oregano, chives, and thyme are growing. Also sorrel. I’ll have to figure out what to do with that.

    My sisters, who live away, both need masks so I’ll be making some and mailing them. It’ll motivate me to get away from the computer and news for a while each day.

    I was able to hang my sheets out to dry a couple of weeks ago and hope the weather cooperates in the future. That sunny smell is wonderful when going to bed.

    And everyone in the family is still well.

  18. My nine sibs and I typically communicate by text and phone. Friday night, spur of the moment, I sent out a video call invite – and six showed up! More or less. There’s always the one who can’t get the webcam working, but he milked it for maximum laughs.

  19. Happy for community. I’m up to 3 scheduled onlines a week now – Tuesdays with my bff, Friday night Trivia, and Saturday with our best-couple-friends. Really nice to spend quality time with people I love.

    And I cleaned out and organized our pantry this week, which was *intensely* happy-making. DH is of the “I’m sure it’s fine” school, which made things a bit of a challenge, but I did my best, and now we can find things. We did not need that 1998 apple butter anymore, for the record.

  20. Connection has been my big happy this week, too. I told my niece in PA about the last button that my friends in MN sent me (Sarcasm Burns Calories) and she was inspired to send me a post card of George Burns with a reminder that laughter not only burns calories, but makes the incarceration go better. She suggested A Fish Called Wanda.

    I enjoyed those exchanges so much that I started sending postcards to all the people I have addresses for . That led to going online to search for old friends with whom I’ve had no contact for decades. I don’t know if we will reconnect, but I feel better since I tried.

    A friend I said I was going to visit 6 months ago and then decided I wasn’t ready for that trip called me. We had a great a great visit and that inspired the second batch of post cards that I plan to write today.

    Then I got a card from the second friend I had planned to visit on the cancelled trip. She found some pictures that were taken around her sister’s high school graduation (in 1970). It was such a hoot seeing what we all looked like that long ago. I had forgotten how we looked in those days, but I had a good laugh looking at her mother, my mother, her sister, my sister and Julie and I. I thought I was so fat in those days, but now I would kill to get back to that weight.

  21. Having a simple and happy Easter Sunday. I surprised my DH with a pancake breakfast, which he much appreciated. After listening the the service (and wishing I was there to sing in the choir), I took the cat out on a leash for a lie on the sidewalk (he really doesn’t know what to do with grass) for a while. My DH took over so Teddy is a happy cat.

    Other happiness is connecting with my family, and hanging out with the pets. It’s getting to be the new normal.

  22. My husband’s coronavirus test came back negative – he’s a physical therapist assistant and had a patient that tested positive, so we had a few anxious days while awaiting results. We celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary last week and my mother celebrated her 94th birthday in an assisted living facility, but I did get to speak to her, so good things happened for us.

    I’m retired so my life has not been impacted as others’ have been. Although my age puts me in the higher risk category, I’ve not had to face the loss of job/income, so I’m truly aware of my good fortune in this respect.

    We’re celebrating Easter today with homemade apple/cranberry pie which smelled wonderful while baking. I hope the taste lives up to the aroma.

    I hope you all have something/someone wonderful in your life to hold on to as this all unfolds.

  23. New Zealand had a national (paper) easter egg hunt so I took a great deal of satisfaction in printing out my egg and colouring it in, My partner has pinned it in the claws of our car lobster so hopefully the family groups which have been wandering the streets will have something to find.

    1. Wait, you have car lobsters in New Zealand? Is that a Maori custom or just a bit of aesthetic self-expression?

      1. Self expression..sort of, at the moment a lot of people are putting stuffed animals in their windows to keep kids out on their exercise entertained.

        The house we rent doesn’t have windows visible from the road so we have set up the back of our car with soft toys.

        One of the toys is a very cheerful looking crustacean who is now brandishing a coloured in paper easter egg at passers by 🙂

    2. We had a neighborhood paper Easter egg hunt. I colored mine and hung it late Saturday night. Which reminds me, I should probably go take it down now.

  24. Of course we couldn’t go to church, but the brass choir of our (Protestant) church played some Easter hymns on the roof of the Catholic church which is located next to the supermarket, so people could go there and listen while still keeping the distance.

    Because the weather was glorious, my husband and I took a long walk through the woods close to our house again and then, for the first time ever, had a video chat with all of our kids and my sister. They were supposed to be here for Easter but of course everything had to be canceled, so it was good to at least meet them this way.

    Finally, as another first, I was able to attend a live Facebook concert by one of my former students who is now a very gifted singer/songwriter/poetry slammer. What a treat!

    I wonder how this would all have played out if the coronavirus had hit us twenty years ago when we didn’t have all these great means of online communication!

    So you’re right, there is so much happiness in connecting.

  25. My husband is unshakably convinced we both had a bout of the scourge early on. I am less convinced. True, we were both laid very lowdown low with most of the symptoms. We were informally sequestered at the time because home was undergoing major rehab and we were in a rental. So that’s something, as folks keep reminding us, the work done and we are now formally sequestered in a functional home.

    John just left to pick up dinner from Frenchie’s; an Easter indulgence of prime rib. We want to keep the place open and surviving. Owner has five restos in our town, all closed save Frenchie’s. John also made peanut butter chocolate chip cookies for breakfast, good with strong coffee. I am final proofreader for the garden magazine, so I’m lost in close scrutiny. Earlier, I cut the Easter lilies for the table and roses for a bathroom – rehabbed bathroom! – vase.

    Friends have been calling and emailing, I’ve been calling and emailing friends. Feels good. So do our daily jaunts to the open swath of Dog Park. Both dogs currently signalling us now’s the time, even the one in hospice (just hit the two-year mark and still plugging on).

    Stay well, Argh world! I love you all. Yes, every last one of you.

  26. I think we’ve been so used to a stressed, poorly performing reality, that we’ve pushed aside vital connections – or we’ve just been too darned tired to make them. I’ve had a Zoom reunion with friends from home, and watched one preform a concert “live” from California.
    I also enjoyed watching the live-but-not-together episode of SNL with my family. The kids are all old enough to really appreciate it. It was also mostly funny and poignant.
    The husband wants to bake bread with me, and he made Bohemian fruit dumplings for breakfast for everyone yesterday.
    And, I’m going online to order wax stamps, (and real stamps to flip the bird to the White House) and I’m going to collage some post cards and write short letters. And then seal them with my new wax stamp.
    Thank you all for the wonderful, creative community.

  27. A former professor is providing an online lesson on his subject strength, the New Testament. I learned more in half an hour with him than in years of reading the text on my own. That will be a bright spot every week. And my sister-in-law, who barely speaks to me, made and sent a very nice mask.
    Grateful for what online connection can do/be, but missing real time with my church community, my writing buddy (though we are trading poems and prompts weekly), and even my colleagues at work. Grateful for this community and for Jenny’s posts and creative “I don’t know where that came from” posts.

  28. Here’s the first two acts of the online play I did:
    (I’m Helena/Tom Snout)

    We filmed the other half today and it was a hoot.

    I finished some craft projects and updated the craft blog:
    fullmoon.typepad.com/crafts, including a coronavirus cross stitch sampler and the finished Arne and Carlos knitalong.

    I also started a storytelling class this week and wrote a piece for that class.

  29. I finally managed to corral my entire family into a video call. It’s only taken three weeks. Seeing them all was wonderful, but I got horribly homesick afterward. I tried making gingerbread to cheer myself up, and it came out burnt on top and complete mush in the middle. I have stuck the whole thing back into the oven, where it will stay until it turns into either cake or ashes, I don’t much care which at this point.

    Happiness is seeing my family safe and well, even if they are many miles away from me.

  30. Easter was comfort food cooking: Got out my ancient Joy of Cooking and made Banana Bread (from frozen bananas), old fashioned baked custard and cheese souffle for Easter Lunch. Got to practice my fractions to cut down the custard and souffle recipes to two servings.

    Used the GOOD dishes and silverware…

    And after streaming church and zoom virtual coffee hour talked to ALL our family with one kind of video or another: in addition to the usual face time with daughter’s family, talked to BOTH DH’s brothers, including the one who lives in Japan (it was 7:30 in the morning there), did a three-way skype with my sibs (one sister is sheltering with brother at Cape, other sister is outside of DC). Most delightful surprise was long POTs (plain old telephone) conversation with a favorite, recently widowed (widowered?) uncle. He is in a senior living facility, but I think that he is very safe there: he’s in the independent living section, so the only staff he see’s is the person who delivers his meals once a day and neighbors in his unit when they have an occasional properly socially distanced cocktail.

  31. Something that has been an absolute joy for a while now is Kim Harrison’s (paranormal writer) videos on Facebook and Instagram (where she is Kim_Harrison_author). They are just simple videos of something in her yard like a tree or a plant poking its head out of the ground and nothing but the ambient background noise. She calls them 30 seconds to breathe and they are fantastic. No one wants to see a video of my back yard, it’s all snow and dog poop.

    Paul is starting to find all this staying home to be a little hard on the psyche. He’s a very social person and even though he’s had video chats with his buddies and they text constantly, it’s wearing thin. He’s not the homebody that I am so this is difficult for him. Fortunately, a neighbor is also a wood turner and he dropped off 2 boxes of wood for Paul yesterday. Most of it will have to be glued into larger blocks but it still gives him something to do.

    It looks like we will have to go to the big town this week so that will get rid of some of his itchy traveling feet.

    I started cutting squares for my lap quilt and that was about all I did this weekend that was productive. I couldn’t even get through a movie without wandering aimlessly through the house.

  32. We cooked waffles on Sunday and piled them up with jam and cream. The indulgence level of that made me happy. And going for walks exploring more of the neighborhood. I was very tired and a bit unwell at the end of last week, so getting my energy back feels good.

  33. We had a three family seder in zoom and then a five family zoom brunch so that was good.

    Remember how I used to complain that I bought too many bulbs and had to plant them? Every one was worth it. Five minutes in fbe garden was a great restorative.

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