Happiness is Bees

I was outside yesterday, typing away on a gorgeous afternoon, and a bee distracted me. It was just one, and it buzzed in, apparently to see what I was working on, and hung there for a moment, just beautiful, and then it went on its way. I have a yard full of clover, but I don’t see many bees, and that worries me, so seeing this one was aa real charge. And the a couple of days later I read about Matthew Willey, whose mission is to paint 50,000 bees and whose work is beautiful. And that made me happy, too. Plus, there’s honey.

from Atlas Obscura

What made you happy this week?

72 thoughts on “Happiness is Bees

  1. Last night I sat outside after a rainstorm and jotted notes on the front porch as the sun went down. It was warm, but not humid or super buggy (yet). I saw the fireflies for the first time this year and it made me happy.

    Contemplating a new fanfic project and hearing the character voices “click” in my head.

    Listening to/watching lots of Choir! Choir! Choir! on YouTube. Arghers are such an eclectic group, I always assume tons of people know about something I’ve just discovered, but for those who don’t –

    Choir! Choir! Choir! is a drop in choir in Toronto. Everyone is taught how to sing a song in harmony in a few hours and then they sing together and sing and record the song on YouTube (I think there are rights issues for them putting stuff on streaming music apps).

    The music is good (to my very nonmusical ear) but I think the amazing thing is seeing people come together and make something beautiful just b/c they love music. This is pre-covid (obviously) so even a very innocuous, silly song can suddenly feel very moving. I’ve cried more than once watching them and I mean that in a cathartic way, not a “life sucks” way.

    They have a really wide selection of songs too. Lots of classic sing-along type stuff (Beatles, Sweet Caroline, Lean On Me) but they have lots of wonderful stuff, rock, 80s pop all the way up to contemporary like stuff like Lewis Capaldi and Rihanna. Every time I would think “they should cover this song,” it would pop up as something they had done. They’ve been doing this weekly for some time and it’s fun to watch videos and recognize familiar faces after a while.

    I think it’s kind of the thing where if you want to check it out, it’s best to just poke around and discover what you like but my favorite for just fun, upbeat is their version of Karma Chameleon.

    If you’re looking for beautiful, moving there is tribute to David Bowie (Space Oddity) and Hallelujah with special guest star Rufus Wainwright.

    Lots to check out.

    1. I’ve been doing “just one more” for the last hour. Thanks for sharing. Looks like so much fun. Wish I could sing!

      1. They don’t have auditions! Anyone who drops by is welcome. They were also touring before the pandemic. My husband is trying to talk me into a Toronto vacation when our covid days are done 😉

    2. Rufus Wainwright + Choir! Choir! Choir! is my favorite version of Hallelujah. It’s available in one of my streaming apps, but I can’t remember which one right now.

    3. Well, I ran right over and watched this video. And got all teary. Thanks a lot for that. 😉 I know what I’m going to lose a lot of time to now.

    4. After I got out of the psych ward and was trying to figure out what to do with my time, my good friend and former vice teacher advised me to find a choir and join it as a way to make some friends and get some endorphins going. Something like this would have been perfect! Oh, well. At least, thanks to You Tube, those of us in other places can listen.

        1. I was trying for a parallel with “vice principal” so it almost made sense.

          1. Well, he did take me to some fairly wild and very boozy parties before I moved out of town.

  2. What made me very happy this week was randomly coming across a band I haven’t heard of before. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdN1U9NvuIc They’re a Mongolian metal band called The Hu, and they use traditional instruments and throat-singing in their music, and to me it feels incredibly powerful and visceral, and makes me want to sweep across the steppes and take over the world. Song of Women, and Wolf Totem are my favourites, particularly the versions they did with guest artists.

    1. Oh god. Now I have another time suck. Sheesh! A Mongolian metal band: I feel happy just knowing such a thing exists! After listening to the Song of Women, however, I feel as if the Earth has shifted. Thanks!

      1. I have seen videos of Tuvan throat singers, but never anything so contemporary. That was incredible!

  3. This is the time of year when the wild poppies are in full bloom and the field down at the end of the street is covered in red blossoms in between the wheat stalks. In the morning when I walk with the dog, the flowers all have their faces turned toward us because the sun rises over that side of the field. Because there has been less traffic than normal due to corona, there is less ambient man-made noise, so I was completely startled one early morning when I got to the field and could hear nothing but really, really loud buzzing. Nearly every blossom had a bumblebee in it and the entire field was literally vibrating with buzzing. Had it happen again the other day. It was the most astounding thing!

    Yesterday evening was also wonderful: a few months back, on the way back home from our evening walk a critter crossed the road about 30 feet away from us. It definitely wasn’t the fox who lives in the bottom of the field (too small), looked sort of like a cat, except it was too stumpy. So I thought, hmmm, I could swear that’s a badger. But in all the years I had never ever seen one here. I see the vixen with her annual batch of kits on a fairly regular basis, have even seen her with the male when it’s mating season. Twice I saw a hedgehog in front of our house, but it never settled in and stayed. But never a hint of a badger.

    For a couple of afterward, no more signs. I thought I ma
    y have just confused a sighting of one of the long-haired housecats out on a nightly reconnoitering.

    Then last night I was on my way home again with the dog and I saw an animal come out of the field and I thought, dang, looks like that badger. It stopped turned to look and me and lo and behold, yup, black and white striped pointy face. Oh, wow! I was right, and thrilled . It turned around and went back in the field and from the other side of the road. I was marvelling and that and then from the hedgerow on the other side, a second one came toddling out, looking for the first one, spotted us (dog on leash, as always) turned around and ran down the road under the street light and disappeared back into the hedgerow. There are TWO of them. Holy moly!! And now I know why my dog has been more than usually interested in sniffing in that part of the hedgerow — we have new neighbors.

    (We’re basically an urban environment, but these fields are not buildable because they are part of the floodplain of the Rhine, and are there for overflow purposes during flooding, so other than being cultivated, they are left in peace.)

    For me, this was something super, super special!

    So, today, for me happiness is bees AND badgers!

    1. What a perfect description. Took me right there.

      Also, yay for intelligent building around flood plains. I wish more countries would do that rather than try to control the rivers.

      1. Yes, they are called “flood meadows” because someone wisely woke up to the fact that if you don’t wall in the river, but let it spill over its banks in a controlled fashion, you take the pressure off downriver and have less damage. One of the flood meadows upriver from us will allow something like a million (or perhaps billion? don’t remember exactly, big number though) liters of water to flow into a temporary lake when the river is really high.

    2. Yesterday we went to my parents’ for Fathers Day and spent a long time watching the fox cubs in the field next door. There were rabbits too and a bit of half-hearted chasing about but the foxes were as hot and sleepy as we were after tea and cake.

  4. My last official day of work was Friday! I threw myself a virtual retirement party and many of my closest friends popped in. It was lovely to talk to so many special people. My favourite local garden gave me a lovely bouquet for my retirement in addition to my weekly subscription bouquet which was full or gorgeous peonies. I talked with a long-time friend for the first time in a couple of years – much better than FB messenger. We’re in the midst of a heat wave in Eastern Canada – high 80s (32C) and I woke up at 6am this am and took my dog for a long walk. I usually sees bees in my gardens but I’ve been so busy at work, I haven’t been outside enough to notice them. However, now I have all the time I want to hang out, watching bees and flowers.

  5. I ate’nt dead.

    Happiness is putting the heart cath behind me. Doctor found nothing. We’ll see what happens at the follow-up in two weeks.

    This may be snarky, but happy the big Tulsa rally was a flop.

    Also taking the time to drink coffee on my porch with my sister. I’ve seen a butterfly or two and a couple of bees, not too many.

    1. Isn’t that wonderful? Now if it just doesn’t take out half of Tulsa with the virus.

      There was a bit in WaPo or NYT (they run together when I read them) about a protester and a MAGA who talked politely with each other, and still couldn’t comprehend the other’s point of view. They weren’t angry with each other, they were just mystified. They’re living in two different realities, and the gulf between them is just so large that one of them might as well be on the moon. The only thing they agreed on was the things had to change because this couldn’t go on. It was mind-boggling but illuminating. The MAGA (white) guy couldn’t understand why the protestor (black) was protesting. He was polite, he just couldn’t get it. I thought that exchange explained a lot more than the protests and the rallies.

      1. Very scary. If those two, politely and sincerely attempting understanding, couldn’t manage it, how can all the angry and impolite manage?

  6. We accomplished some good work things this week.

    My BIL cleared out an area next to his house that was looking a little scruffy, and transplanted ferns there. It looked terrific with the bird feeders and the mellow brick of their house. He had offered me ferns in the past, and I had said maybe, but seeing this made me want some too. He instantly dug 6 up, and I have managed to get them in the (rocklike clay filled) ground, AND watered them twice. Weeds were flourishing there, so I hope the ferns can too.

    A customer told my boss that she had thought I was in my 20’s! I mean, staying across the room wearing a mask does hide the wrinkles, jaw line and make the grey hair harder to spot but still! And she is around my age too, which makes it nicer because usually it is the younger people who guess wrong. Mind you, I am perfectly happy to be 63, but this still pleased me.

  7. I discovered a cooking show on YouTube by a sweet little man who goes by Tito Charly. I can’t understand more than an occasional word of Spanish, but he is so cute! And his daughter, who apparently convinced him to cook online for something to do during lockdown, is giggling and chatting with him in the background.


    1. There’s a great crochet shawl called History of Bees that I keep meaning to make.
      Maybe it’s time to try that again.

      1. That’s a completely charming (and cheerful!) pattern. I will warn you before you start: bees are handmaids to the muses, so when you crochet/create them you might get even MORE story ideas. Just sayin’

  8. Finished my second week of semi-retirement (working three days per week until August 6th, at which point I will fully retire). Enjoying the four-day weekends. REALLY enjoying the reduction in stress level that comes with being in the position of cross-training, finishing things up and knowing that I don’t have long-term responsibility for these projects!

    Real joys:

    Listening to my across-the-street neighbor coaching his seven-year old son in baseball fielding skills – Dad is so encouraging, making up imaginary scenarios and adding new skills to deal with them. They are both having so much fun. The kid is really good too!

    Had a face-time with my daughter’s family yesterday to wish SIL Happy Dad’s Day. After months of 3.4 year-old granddaughter E not wanting to spend more time with us on face-time than saying “Hi” and “Bye” she wanted to show us EVERYTHING and she wanted to be able to see us as she showed us her play-yard and going down the slide! Really miss that kid hope that we can work things out so that we can see her in person sooner than later!

    Another thing that I realized that I am missing this year: The joyous sounds of the shcool-kids as the are delivered home by the school bus on the last day of school.

  9. I will join you in bee happiness. 🙂 My yard, which might be considered a shitshow by the person who likes a tidily-trimmed patch of sod, is full of salvia. I also have a firecracker plant, golden currants, verbena, a dwarf bottlebrush, a crape myrtle, a ceanothus, and (until recently) a messy extravagant patch of sunflowers. I have had BEES. And butterflies, and hummingbirds.

  10. I stopped by the garden center to get some parsley plants (the ones I got last year are in the process of going to seed) and ended up buying a few decorative plants. Bumblebees told me which lantana plants to purchase! There were several cultivars on display but the bumblebees were only interested in one of them. I did apologize for taking part of their lunch; hopefully my own bumblebees will like them as much.

    The only times I see honeybees are when my lavender blooms–in a few days–and when the camellias bloom in late October/early November. The former is because they really like that plant and the latter is because that’s pretty much all that’s in bloom at that time. At the end of my road is a home with several beehives; I hope they are full.

  11. One week ago, I started writing again. I’d started this book in 2018 and had tons of it in my head before I began writing. Until last week, I hadn’t touched it in almost two years. When I go a long time without writing, I end up thinking I suck as a writer and I probably need to take writing classes to even begin to be a strictly competent writer — even for technical writing, which I find much easier than any other kind. Then, I go back and read something I’d written some time ago and think, wow, I wrote this? It’s really good! That’s what happened with this. I tidied up the prologue (sorry, Jenny, but it’s truly necessary!) and the first chapter and sent it to some friends for their entertainment (and to see if they want to see more) and began to write notes, backstory, random scenes, figure out names of people and races ….

    I actually started the story in my head as a reaction to a story by a writer I love. I hate how this story goes because, to me, the story is about coming to love the monster that captured and enslaved you and hurts you, and the monsters (says he) loves her. This is not, in my mind, a love story. It certainly isn’t a Beauty and the Beast kind of story. So, I created *my* version, which basically is the backstory for mine. Since then, it’s evolved into my own thing, mostly, and everything I do with it and think about it makes it completely mine and virtually nothing of where it came from.

    I really shouldn’t try to apply any of HWSW to my story yet. Now I’m thinking all about conflict and goals and who the hell is the antagonist anyway. So, I’m going to continue to write my story and read HWSW and keep them completely separate in my mind for now.

    However, I WROTE! I’M WRITING!

    As one of my earlier therapists (actually, several of them) said, I would probably be healthier mentally if I wrote. Keeping it in all the time isn’t helpful or even healthy for me. I need it. My brain got *lots* better when we rebooted it several years (ECT was a miracle for me), so maybe this will essentially “finish” the process of getting my former, healthier, brain back.

    1. I have the same reaction. I’m stuck in the “why did I ever think I could write” cloud right now, and then I go back and look at some of the things I’ve done and think, “No, that’s good.” I think. a lot of writers do that.

      And definitely don’t mess with your story in the discovery phase. Just get it all down. You can HWSW it later.

  12. There were actually a bunch of political things that made me happy .
    —the Supreme Court decision that LGBTQ people are protected by the anti discrimination laws at work
    —the Supreme Coirt decision that at least for now DACA recipients (brought here without documentation as children, now adults) can stay and work and go to school
    —I think it’s a good thing that, since Berman is being forced out, he’s being replaced by the correct person who sent Michael Cohen to prison and not the guy running the SEC who never was a prosecutor and at one point represented Deusche Bank which did all those illegal favors for Trump when No one else would lend him money
    —Bolton’s book cant be suppressed
    —Trumps niece book should be out soon and it apparently is going to show exactly who he is
    —the Tulsa event only filled a third of the stadium (per the fire Marshall) so it will be a much smaller super spreader event, and despite Trumps best efforts he couldn’t turn it into a race riot
    —kids all over the country and in Korea ordered the free tickets they never planned to use , and then went on tiktok and danced the Macarena with them. I had no idea the Macarena was still a thing. According to the campaign almost a million tickets were ordered and they assure us 300k were registered Republicans so by their own admission 700k were part of this viral campaign (fed in part by Kpop stars)
    —the result of the viral campaign is that they spent money building an overflow stage, Completely messed up the campaign data collection for fundraising (among other things they set up short term phone numbers from which they placed their orders) and ruined Trumps night.

    I don’t know if it happened but I habe this mental image of kids all over the country giving their dads the tickets for Fathers Day.

    Also I planted more angelonia in my garden and I just need to weed and water and plant more nasturtiums in a month.

    1. The last two online dance parties i went to definitely had the Macarena playing at it, even though one lady was all, “Those guys are in their 70’s now!”

      I’m loving this whole ticket thing. It heartens me.

      1. Hotel Transylvania Summer Vacation features the Macarena, it is so powerful a dance beat that it soothes the savage beast. That may be where kids have picked it up. It’s fun.

    2. Those are the things that made my week as well though, warning, the DACA decision is very limited; it only says that this administration did it so sloppily that it can’t be endorsed. It’s too late for them to be able to go back again before the election, so if you have any interest in looking out for DACA kids, you MUST vote for Joe Biden. No third parties. If reëlected, this administration will try this again, presumably in a way that John Roberts will be able to stomach, and those 700,000 will be liable for deportation.

  13. Theater, theater, theater for me. I’m making new friends with the playwright from the play I did last week and she just passed me a 10 minute play she did about farts if I want to read it. It’s hysterical. Am also becoming bosom pals with someone else I met online (friend of a friend, also doing shows) and we are having a great time chatting.

    We did As You Like It this week in Social Distancing Virtual Readers Theater (yes, that’s the YouTube channel name, actual show probably goes up in a few weeks after filming/editing). We were a little short staffed this week due to people going back to work, but we covered the roles. Our Master of Revels was kind of assuming that the project might have to quit after this one, but this week she said she’d try to do smaller casts instead. They also are going with the idea of having outtake videos, which I love, as sometimes we are doing things while not “onstage” that others should get a kick out of.

    I also saw three storytelling shows in a day yesterday in three different time zones, so that is pretty cool.

  14. I found one of my tyres was really down (10 instead of 30 – not sure what the units are), took it to the tyre place, and they mended it for £14. I thought I was going to have to shell out for a new tyre.

    My front garden, especially, is making me happy. As are the climbers starting to flower – today it was the first flower On Rose Climbing Etoile de Hollande, which turns out to smell gorgeous as well as being deep crimson: really romantic. I’ve posted some of the others at https://www.instagram.com/p/CBtSqlrn7IG/ (I’ve put two other lots of garden pictures up in the last couple of days, plus one from an online show I’m taking part in.)

    Oh, and Wales is planning to reopen in a fortnight, so I’ll be able to drive to my favourite places again.

    1. I wouldn’t have minded quarantining in Wales. It’s been 29 years since I was there. The other day one of my roommates and I were talking about things we wish we’d known or done differently when we were younger. One of the dreams I had through HS and college was going to Wales after I graduated (I live in the US). I was going to rent a little cottage somewhere on the coast of Wales for six months and write. I’d probably have done it if my life hadn’t exploded into little bits. I love Wales.

      1. I live a couple of miles or so from the border, on the English side. Luckily, it kinks west just here, which means I’ve still had nearby hills to walk in. It’s been bizarre to have to be aware of the political border suddenly.

    2. My late father always told me that 1) that mending tire leaks isn’t reliable and 2) if you replace one tire, better replace its partner — two at a time. Dad died in 1972, and about ten years ago one of my tires displayed a leak. I asked about replacement, and they said, No, mending is really effective and safe; we’ve developed new materials and methods.

      However, they still recommend replacing tires in pairs — a friend’s husband of the hands-on sort says because the treads are in sync. He could be murmuring incantations for all I know . . . .

      1. Yes, I’ve heard that one. But it still has good tread – the guy said it was due to corrosion on the wheel rim, which they’ve cleaned off as well as replacing the valve. He said it’s a common problem. I made a note to myself to check all my tyre pressures more frequently.

  15. “To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
    One clover, and a bee.
    And revery.
    The revery alone will do,
    If bees are few.”

    –Dickinson. But more bees is better still.

  16. I’ve just got back from a 9-day campervan trip around New Zealand’s South Island, which was gorgeously beautiful. It’s early winter but we paid careful attention to the weather forecasts and planned our destinations well and only had one day of rain. Lots of walks along wild beaches and rivers and mountain lakes, lots of time relaxing. And I almost totally unplugged from the news and work and everything else that stresses me out. Very happy-making.

  17. One of our favorite restaurants was featuring takeaway lobster roll kits for Father’s Day, so even though DH isn’t a dad (except to cats) we splurged on lobster rolls and lobster mac & cheese today. Enough for 3 meals for the two of us, so 2 days of happy right there.

    Like many of you, I was thrilled (and astonished) by the DACA and LGBTQ decisions, and by the low turnout at the Tulsa rally.

    We’ve had bees and hummingbirds and butterflies in the garden all week, and neighbors are stopping to admire our certified wildlife habit sign on their evening walks. Makes me feel like we’re doing some good there.

  18. My most recent happiness started with today’s post. After seeing the choir!x3 link, I had to tell my sister, the choral conductor, about it. I can just picture her enjoying those posts for months on end.

    I sent my niece a postcard from my all time favorite photography book and she went nuts because the cat in the picture looked a lot like their cat and was chewing the photographer’s finger just the way Blanche chews her husband’s knuckle. I ordered a copy of the book for them and another copy of the postcard book for myself. They arrived at Dave’s store yesterday and picking them up made an excellent excuse to go back for a visit today. While I was there, I found 2 books to send to Becky’s kids and tried to get some inspiration for cleaning up my apartment. It will never look as good as Dave’s store does, but at least I can get it to the point where I’m not embarrassed to have anyone over. And then I invited Dave over for dinner. The state is supposed to be fully open by the end of the month so it is time to start preparing for real life again.

    Produce also made me happy this week. I went absolutely nuts on Friday and look forward to many happy meals in the future. I will probably not be able to look at another mango after this. I bought a case of 17 because I had a ride home and that is far too many to eat by yourself if you aren’t planning on making chutney

    I am starting to get some of the books I ordered from the library and that is fun. Normally, they wouldn’t arrive all together, but they are somewhat bunched up now because of the shut down. I’m really enjoying the one I am reading.

  19. My sister just took up amateur beekeeping, and I am incredibly jealous. She has a half acre that backs up to wetlands in New England, while I live on a 8000 sq ft lot in the desert southwest. She loves her bees, and they’re very productive. Perhaps you could also become an apiarist.

  20. I was out weeding in the front yard yesterday and the bees were all over the poppies. I had to be careful with my reach for weeds so I didn’t disturb them. In a couple of weeks they will be feasting on the lilac tree in the back yard. I leave dandelions in the yard and flower beds until other flowers are out so they have something to eat first thing in the spring. That dandelions are cheerful yellow flowers that make me happy has nothing to do with it, it’s all for the bees.

  21. Spend Sunday afternoon in the garden weeding and mowing the grass. Too much sun and not enough water. Will plant the rest tomorrow. Lots of buzzing 🐝. Had to watch I didn’t disturb the bees. Very happy with the new plants. Youngest granddaughter picked most of the plants. Have a large quantity of petunias. Lol. Many different colours. If it was a pretty colour or verigated, onto the cart. She is a flower picker. We spent many hours picking wild flowers in her little life.

    Loving the redo hwsw with Bob.

  22. My front garden is giving me much happiness. I grew nasturtium from seed that is beautiful and we are eating the flowers already, my bee balm just bloomed and I finally saw a honey bee on them, my sweet pepper plants are looking beautiful and have multiple peppers of many kinds, the pond’s goldfish are doing great, I just go out and pull weeds and smile at the fish and the garden.

  23. I spent yesterday afternoon walking around the monuments with my niece, who has moved to town. It’s nice to be able to see her more than once a year!

    The two Supreme Court decisions were a bright spot, though I recognize that the DACA one at least is only a finger in the dike. So many things depend on this nightmare not extending another 4 years. I hope we can hang on.

    As a former advance staffer (though none of us is ever truly former, just resting between campaigns), the Tulsa rally was some fun schadenfreude [deleted because it veered into no happiness topics].

  24. I showed a guy from the (amateur) roofing crew working next door how to spot a rainbow–and then we stood six feet apart, smiling at the sky. “I like rainbows,” he told me. “They mean everything’s going to be all right.”

  25. Another happy!

    I mentioned buying new computers. The family computer is on order, not positive when it will arrive. My new confuser is the cutest little thing I’ve ever seen. Rather than describe it, let me link to it: Guzila

    It takes up less than a square foot of desk space any way I turn it. I already had the monitor, keyboard, mouse, and cabling, so setup was a couple of minutes. I’ve installed a few of my favorite programs and most of my e-library. Happiness abounds.

    Also, while looking for backups, I found a movie, Ballerina (titled Leap! in the United States). Neither Disney nor Pixar, but as good as either. I’m re-watching it. Happy!

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