Happiness is Hearing a Loved One’s Voice

I haven’t seen my daughter in forever, but tonight she called and we talked about pretty much everything, including remote gifting, which was almost like shopping with her. We had some professional gifts to talk about that, in the past, had always been huge boxes of really good chocolates (Esther Price) sent to businesses. But business is all remote now, so now the gifts are personal, and we both hit the net and looked at Tea Forte gifts and squeed and laughed over the same ones (those red holiday cups!). It wasn’t as good as being with her, I couldn’t hug her, but I could hear her beautiful voice and that made me so happy.

What made you happy this week?

61 thoughts on “Happiness is Hearing a Loved One’s Voice

  1. I’m watching videos of animals that turned around and went back inside upon encountering snow. Very, very therapeutic.

  2. Quiet, dark morning with just the Christmas tree lit up and me. Listening to the Christmas music *I* like in earbuds without comments from the peanut gallery.

  3. I don’t decorate much for the season (I was brought up Jewish and have been a Witch/Pagan for the last 20+ years, so Christmas has never been my holiday). My friends and I always hold a Yule dinner party at my house and I string a few lights along the walls, hang up some old swags that still smell faintly of juniper berries, and put my Solstice goddess on my altar. But since there won’t be a party this year, I wasn’t even going to do that.
    But I was talking to one of my friends who would have been here and she got me thinking I should do something. So yesterday I went out to Lowe’s and spent an absurd amount of money on a white metal outside tree and a bunch of lights that I strung around the bases of the real trees in the front yard. Ordered some cool solar decorations too, although I don’t know if there will be enough sun to light them up.
    It was a gloomy day, and looking out at the lights did, in fact, cheer me up.

  4. My husband and my anniversary is today — 4o years hitched. Funny, all my local friends have had multiple marriages, so I feel like my married life is a bit humdrum but fine with me.

    Good parts — We’re gentler, nicer people than we were in 1980; we live comfortably ‘way up in the hills among friendly folks; we enjoy our kids and grandcats, near and far; we each are focused our separate hobbies.

    Bad part — It took us 40 years to get to this stage.

      1. As someone who has had rather a lot of unwanted drama this week, my thinking is that humdrum *anything* sounds perfect!!

        1. It took me a while to come to the realisation that I shouldn’t be looking at my life in terms of how exciting a narrative it’ll make for telling someone else. Humdrum may not make for an exciting story, but if you’re happy in it that’s what matters.

  5. This is kind of trivial but it gave me great joy this morning to deliver my visiting crows a treat. I try to use every bit of the chicken we roast on Thanksgiving, and I started with the giblets which went to delighted crows. They visit some tall stumps in the back of the yard for the roasted peanuts I put out there every morning, and they started cawing in triumph at one another as they discovered the treasure trove of bird parts on Thanksgiving morning.

    I roasted the chicken, which we ate with chicken gravy, and yesterday I turned the chicken carcase into soup stock and then a very good chicken soup. The bones from the carcase, along with the parsley stems and celery ends that were in the stock pot with them, were wrapped up tightly in foil and refrigerated, so they were sort of fused together into a chicken simulacrum. This morning it went out whole onto the tallest stump and the first crow that found it was overjoyed. Part of the fun seemed to be sorting through the big lump of goodness for the bird bits, and it kept him occupied, and gently cawing, for a good ten minutes. So rewarding!

  6. I found the perfect Christmas gift for someone who insists on exchanging presents, and also ran across a llama Christmas sweater I could not live without. They go with the llama Christmas socks I bought earlier this year. When did llamas become associated with Christmas? I still can’t figure this one out, but they are everywhere.

    Went to Trader Joe’s for some essential frozen items, and was seduced by wonderful holiday treats. Just finished the almond Kringle for breakfast.

    autocorrect’s second suggestion to mis-spelled Christmas was masochist which make me laugh and laugh.

    1. My guess is that it is because of the children’s book called “Llama Llama Holiday Drama,” a title of which I love. I actually bought a llama ornament (felt) and wrote that on it 😛

  7. I’ve discovered a Korean TV mini-series that I think you would love. It’s called Hotel Del Luna. I’m only on ep 2, but it’s got great graphics, a good premise, a promising romance, and is deliciously creepy and funny at the same time.

    You can watch it on the VIKI app — or see clips on YouTube.

    Asian tv series are my COVID-19 escape — there are some really good ones. Netflix produces some of them. Korean Odyssey and Eternal Love are strong recommendations!

  8. Yesterday the power went out in my grandkids home so they came to our house to weather out the nor’easter. My husband just happened to buy boneless chicken thighs on his grocery shopping trip. For the first time ever I made a chicken and rice casserole with a can of cream of chicken soup as a base. This is going to be my meal of choice because they ate every bit. I even put peas in it and they hate vegetables. Who knew a can of soup could make a difference, plus it was one roasting pan to clean.

    1. I like this recipe, too. It’s also good made with chicken broth instead of the soup, and mushrooms are always a good addition.

  9. I don’t think my best bit has quite happened yet – I’m really looking forward to putting up the Christmas tree, which should happen tomorrow. DH went out and got it this morning, so it is currently having a drink in the garage for 24 hours before being brought in and decorated. This will be the first Christmas that DS is really aware of things like decorating the tree and I’m really looking forward to it (although aware that DS’s interest might lead to multiple decoratings of the tree as he ‘rearranges’ bits)

    Otherwise we are all really enjoying our neighbours’ holiday lights. It’s so cheerful! I am plotting to get some for next year (need time to work on DH, who is not yet convinced – esp as he would likely be the one putting them up, lol!)

  10. Currently watching 42nd street musical on youtube, I saw the London stage version with Lulu, but Bonnie Langford is awesome

  11. Once again, my happiness is wrapped up in an auction to help counter voter suppression in Georgia. This one’s organized by mystery writers, a little smaller and briefer than the romance one, but still fun. I donated a quilt, chemo caps (or night caps), five Helen Binney mysteries, and a query critique.

    It goes live at noon (Pacific time) today. https://www.32auctions.com/MysteryLovesGeorgia

  12. Showing my friend Pam more walks near the cottage I used to live in – she was impressed.

    Being allowed back into Wales. It’s only three miles away, but we’ve been banned from going there for the past two months. The border reopened on Friday evening, so yesterday I went to my favourite garden centre and the related nursery a few mikes further on. Stocked up with grit and soil improver, and found two honeysuckles I’ve been trying to get hold of since March. And today was therefore a gardening day, which always makes me happy.

    I’m really hoping the border stays open over Christmas – there’ll be lots more walks up in the hills to choose from, and I can also visit local National Trust gardens again.

  13. Communing with the dotter and squeeing over chocolate – I do that. Dotter likes Keto snacks, and thinks all the bespoke ones suck. Instead, she mixes nuts with Lily’s Chocolate Baking Chips. Lately it’s been the white chocolate peppermint chips, but she loves the regular white chocolate just as much. My chocoholic cravings are satisfied by Atkins treats, mostly, and sometimes Russell Stover Sugar Free candies.

    My personal Christmas decorations are mostly up. Two of the three USB Christmas trees are plugged in. The third is on display, but not plugged in yet. Later today, fer shur.

  14. Videochatted with friends yesterday. And today I’m going over to my parents house for dinner, since I’m staying in their bubble for December.

    Also, the Advent candles arrived. This year it feels less like a countdown to Christmas, and more like a countdown to getting that much closer to pandemic life being over.

  15. I put up a bird feeder. The birds haven’t noticed it yet, but when they do it will be lovely to see them.

    This Argh community is another good thing.

  16. Happiness today was watching the kitten Dmitri (well, almost 4 months old so not tiny) discover the Sunday New York Times discards (ads, already read sections) on the floor. Did you know you can run across the hardwood floor and slide into the papers and scatter them then you can make kitty forts and then you can shred them and then you can ambush the Siamese from them. Why has no one ever told him about newspapers? A guy should stay informed.

      1. He has tried the paper bag but it seems a little too sedentary for him so far. At present his modus operandi is why sit still if you can wiggle around or wrestle; why walk when you can run flat out ; why stay in a safe spot if you can fall on your head.

  17. A good friend of mine sent me a Godiva Chocolate Advent calendar. Oooh yeah! So I started it on the 1st and every day I open another little door and get a new chocolate. I have been doing *very* well with delayed gratification with this thing: I received it in early November and didn’t touch it, and I open only the one door for each day. I am very proud of that.

    Chocolate. A different kind of chocolate. Every day.

  18. I cleaned 3 of the 4 drawers that I’ve been unmotivated about for months. If I keep it up the cabinet and other drawer will be done, too.

    I put up some wreaths and Christmassy/wintery decorations outside but am not going to bother with anything inside. (Decorating with the contents of the drawers while I sort it all out.)

    Cutting back on the holiday stuff is making me happy.

  19. I don’t really have anything super happy going on for me, but I am enjoying the proliferation of Christmas movies I have access to.

    1. I have been letting holiday-themed books (not my usual thing) proliferate on my TBR. Once I finish the books-in-progress I’m going to binge-read holiday romance. 🙂

  20. I went to visit a friend yesterday and had my annual eye exam. I ordered a spare set of glasses and had a good visit with a friend who is having a rough time dealing with her father’s death and how her brother hasn’t been dealing with it. Since I’ve already dealt with this in my family, I was able to offer some hard won advice and sympathy. I even dared Covid enough to give her a (masked) hug. I can’t tell you how wonderful that felt! I come from a very huggy family and I haven’t hugged anyone other than my sister in months. And now that I’m not going out to my sister’s house, I haven’t even been doing that.
    The only downside is that I got so wrapped up in her troubles that I didn’t pay enough attention to prices. Usually Irina gives me a price quote and I start eliminating features until we reach a price that doesn’t give me palpitations. This year I didn’t even ask about how many optional features were included. I’m telling myself that I am doing my part to keep a small business going in the spirit of Small Business Saturday (which was last week). The store was the victim of a smash and grab robbery earlier, but it isn’t up to me to tide them over until their insurance pays off.

    Since this is the kind of expense that my trust will pay, I used that account and then emailed my niece to warn her to keep an eye out for the bill. Evidently I wasn’t very clear about how I had handled the purchase, because it took a few emails to make it clear. But that was actually great, because I was able to hear the details of her new glasses, catch her up on some of the news about our mutual friends and learn about an eye condition I am very grateful I don’t have. I told Emmy that I had ordered red frames for my glasses and she said, “Oh, you look good in red.”
    I hope I agree with her when I wear them with my orange sweater. Oh, well. At least they will help brighten up my winter.

  21. Happiness is a nice warm day to put up Christmas decorations outside and several newly organized spaces inside.

    A little bit of lateral thinking solved one storage and one organizing problem and made me feel a little silly for not thinking of it sooner. I’ve had a few bad days so it feels pretty good to have a good day. My energy is up and I’m feeling productive.

    I have some decorations that I can’t put up yet because it’s too windy or I need Paul’s help but I can cross a lot off that list. Faux spruce garland. So much faux spruce garland.

    This is gross but happy-ish making. It has been so warm a lot of snow has melted and I’ve been able to clean up a lot of dog poop and take it to the dump yesterday. I also had a visit with some of the grey jays (aka Whisky Jacks) that live out there. They are such pretty birds.

    Okay, so I forgot to hit post. Most of the outdoor decorations are up, we just need to run some extension cords and put up a couple things and it will be done.

  22. I was asked to be part of the small, socially distanced choir singing hymns this morning. The anthem was lovely, and it was so nice to be part of an ensemble again. It filled my heart.

    Afterwards, I treated myself to a salad, and then dropped of things for newborns. I had made 6 receiving blankets, and at least a dozen little purple hats. (I was close to finishing another one, but had to put it down for a bit to do other things.)

    We should start decorating for Christmas this week. I expect we will go get a tree tomorrow.

  23. My church is doing 3 special Zoom sessions, 2 on Handel’s “Messiah” and 1 on art of Advent,
    starting tomorrow, as a consolation present, since there are no live performances of “Messiah” happening this year. It makes me happy that we can offer this. Advent is my favorite church season, with lovely hymns of anticipation, so that also makes me happy.

    And I received a gift of 5 seriously chocolate, fair trade bars from a dear friend.

    Today the women from CALICO, a tnr group, showed up. So instead of paying to get all four kittens done between now and January, with multiple trips to the vet, I made a donation. The kittens are all gone, and I am bereft, but it’s only until Tuesday. And they also get a rabies shot and flea treatment.

    And I baked peanut butter cookies, which I have been craving. I will be able to share them, because another happy church thing is happening next Sunday, with an ingathering of gifts for the homeless and a parking lot reunion. Even if we have to stay in cars, it will be so nice to see people!

    1. How are you ever going to bear to part with any of them. If I was raising five kittens, I would end up with five additions to our household. It is why I can’t foster any kittens. Five minutes and they are mine.

  24. I’m glad you got to have such a great conversation with your daughter! Our 20-year old daughter was out briefly last week and it was so nice to see her for a short while. We are trying to sell our house and had a showing yesterday so fingers crossed. I live in Alberta Canada, and it was so warm today that my DH and I spent a lot of time on the south facing deck. I was in shorts and tank top! It was around 20 C (70ish F I think) so unbelievably warm for this part of the world at this time. We haven’t done much holiday decorating or buying – I’ve been unemployed for most of the year, and back at it since Sept but very little work (I’m an Environmental Consultant that does cleanup of retired oil and gas wells). Hopefully the house sells soon and we can move on to our smaller and more affordable home in my parent’s town. I hope everyone on here has a great and safe holiday season and avoids the ‘rona. Here’s to a successful vaccine for next year!

    1. Hasn’t it been glorious? Especially after that crap October we had. Though here today it’s +5 and rainy and going to be below freezing here tonight. Not great because Paul works nights and he has to drive a lot of hills.

  25. Yes, I love phone calls with DD where we’re both online, looking at crazy real estate listings or estate sale photos or the couch of her dreams. Also love the Zoom calls with both kids; it’s wonderful to see and hear them and laugh together.

    Other happies this week include getting all the inside Christmas stuff up, even though no one else will be entering our house this season. I enjoy the look and the memories and the fun of changing everything around.

  26. Happy I finished bitch of accounting homework assignment.

    Last homework for class, then final exam.

    Now can turn back to Welcome to Temptation.

  27. My siblings and I (except for one sister who was unable to join us) had a fun video chat earlier today. I had time for a hike beforehand and took some photos of various things in the woods. Later in the day I wrapped and got ready to mail most of the Christmas presents. I am still waiting for one to arrive before I can wrap and mail it. I also got all the gifts for my co-workers ready for our Christmas party this week. We are holding it early because one of my coworkers is going out for knee replacement surgery and has to be in quarantine for a week or so beforehand.

  28. Happiness was painting the front door and put on a new seal with a little rain guard to deflect rain at the bottom. Seal is so tight, no wind or rain will penetrated that thing.

    Our granddaughters came for a visit; we played school, painted nails red with silver flower stickers, and they made the Christmas ornament tree. My mother always had one, I have continued the tradition and I see the granddaughters will too. Their sweet voices and hugs are the best. “Grammy you are the best grandmother ever.”

    Some one very close is going through a nasty divorce. He is so vile. A bully and a narcissist. So distressing this week. I want justice and retribution and restoration for her.

    Hoping for a peaceful few days. I’ve never decorated this earlier, will be putting up the tree this week. Will put on Christmas music too.

  29. I’m rereading holiday-themed fiction; today’s was I HATE CHRISTMAS, by Sophie Weston, which is amusing me because I’d forgotten the details of the cute meet — heroine ends up chatting to the hero at a strangers-sharing-a-table at the Five Star Hotel (her description), and getting acquainted when he Blows It: “It was my fault of course. I should never have told him the truth. Normally I never did. When asked about my job, I just say vaguely that I’m an administrator. But . . . I told him that . . . I was a romantic novelist.

    If I’d said I was a high-class hooker, it would have been a point of honor to take it without a blink . . . . if I was a trader in endangered species — or a fraudster setting up a scam, or a recruiter for a religion from outer space, he would have nodded politely and said, ‘how interesting.’ . . . the only other profession I’ve ever seen raise so much as an eyebrow on an Englishman was tax inspector . . . . But even tax inspectors don’t get asked to RECANT. Whereas romantic novelists get it all the time.”

    Another oddball thing: if anyone remembers, I mentioned some weeks ago that I was a participant in a crowd effort to submit an amicus brief in the Michael Flynn case, and that Judge Sullivan had accepted the brief. [I proofread.] Although the case is now basically moot — if anyone’s interested, it will probably be worthwhile to see what Judge Sullivan has to say in response to the presidential pardon — the fact that the amicus brief was accepted meant that the attorney became a party to the case. Consequently, he was notified when Flynn’s attorney submitted the pardon with a request to close the case out, and instantly downloaded the submission documents. These included a Copy of the Pardon.

    He described it as an elegant document with a fancy presidential seal, absolutely suitable for framing and displaying on the wall — if one wanted to do that . . . .

    1. Okay, now I have to read that book. I love holiday romances! This week I reread a set of holiday romances by Bernadette Franklin (aka RJ Blain, etc.) Two Xmas, one Halloween, one St. Patrick’s Day. Very cute.

      1. The heroine’s stepmother knits Santa egg cozies and would probably knit snowflakes if the weather didn’t cooperate!

    2. Follow up on the Flynn case: Today I learned from the attorney that Judge Sullivan is inviting the previous amicae submitters, including my crowd effort, to submit responses to the pardon. So that looks as if he’s not just going to take it and melt.

      Comments will probably focus on exactly which of Flynn’s actions and lies the pardon covers and which it doesn’t, best guess.

      What I think it WILL do is keep Judge Sullivan from closing the case before the inauguration.

    3. Additional reason for happiness: it’s just possible that the tomb of Nicholas Rolin may have been discovered at the site of the church of Notre-Dame-du-Châtel in Autun. You may know Nicholas Rolin. He is the donor kneeling on the left side of the painting “The Virgin of Chancellor Rolin,” which he commissioned from Jan van Eyck. It’s one of my favorite van Eycks because of the landscape you see out the window behind the Virgin and the Chancellor.


      1. I made that painting into a digital jigsaw a while back. I love the miniature landscapes in the background of Renaissance paintings.

  30. It’s been warm here and I have enjoyed going for walks in shorts and a t-shirt. When joggers run last me in hats and jackets; I feel kinda badass. It’s in the 40’s (F) and I’m in the 50’s.

  31. I’m obviously grateful to have paid work (especially as a freelancer) but this afternoon the client we have a half day workshop with this week called to postpone until January and seriously, thank god for that because I was so not prepared and so short on time. That definitely made me happy.

    Also, it was 30° today and forecast to be warm all week, finally summer!

    We wore 1920’s flapper dresses (the tasselled type) for our item at our Irish dance Christmas show on Saturday and they are so much fun to wear, fun to dance, 2021 goal: have more fun.

  32. Happy over the weekend was watching three movies (Holiday Inn, Bye Bye Birdie, and Mulan), reading three books, and doing nearly three hours of yard work such that one-half of my front garden looks a lot more intentional now. Three seems to have been my number.

    ‘Three shall be the number of the counting. Four is RIGHT OUT.’
    /slightly-mangled quote

  33. After many weeks of back and forth, my husband’s siblings (not offspring) settled on a date that they would be available to make the trip to our house for an overnight pre-Christmas get together since they have rarely had a Christmas celebration together since my MIL died 7 years ago. Then I get the email two days ago that my BIL decided he can’t make it. After I finished steaming, I realized that my one SIL is local and the other SIL is doing nothing for Christmas because her children have decided it is better to skip Christmas entirely this year. So I invited the non-local SIL to stay over Christmas and we are going to do Christmas Eve and Day here instead. (My BIL never leaves home for Christmas which is why we did not try this in the first place). The two SIL and I are having so much fun planning menus and their family traditions. So happy outcome after all. I see jigsaw puzzles and games in our future! Plus kitten playing with wrapping paper and we may even set up my husband’s toy train for them to play with.

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