Happiness is Brioche in the Breadbox and a Cat in the Bedroom

I made it out of my driveway (thanks to my neighbor Allan and his snowblower) and into town and the first thing I bought was bread because you can make it through damn near anything if you have bread. Naan, challah, sour dough, whole wheat, and my personal weakness, brioche. One of my favorite things from my childhood was thick white bread toasted and then slathered with butter and topped with an equally thick layer of sugar, so that the sugar melted into the butter and formed this ambrosial sludge on top of the toast. Needless to say, I can’t do that any more, but brioche toast and butter is a pretty good substitute.

Also Emily and I are now at the I-still-don’t-trust-you-but-I’ll-let-you-scratch-me-behind-the-ears stage of our relationship. Also, she’s ridiculously fat and fluffy and laid back, so I think the whole adoption thing is shaping up well.

What made you happy this week?

73 thoughts on “Happiness is Brioche in the Breadbox and a Cat in the Bedroom

  1. Pet pictures as soon as you can, please.

    Bread is good. Scones (American biscuits are better.) https://www.recipetineats.com/lemonade-scones/ Easiest recipe ever!

    I’m happy that I’ve done 6 out of 7 days of yoga by adapting the topic days to suit myself. Longer sessions on days when I have more time and shorter directed ones for the aspect it deals with.

    I’m doing much better with not touching my face. I see that most people still do so, even if the are masked up, which is dangerous. It’s hard because I am the worst kind of fidgeter there is!

    I’m working towards changing my life as much as possible by year end. Even if only mentally. And that make me happy.

    1. This reminds me of the first time I ever made scones. In the first vegetarian cookbook I ever bought there was a recipe for Apricot Bran Scones that you served with Honey Butter. They weren’t particularly authentic, but they were easy and delicious. And any excuse for Honey Butter is fine with me. Thanks for reminding me. I may have to lay in a supply of the ingredients.

  2. This week was pretty intense school wise. I was on campus for an afternoon for a lab class and my group built a stone lamp stand. I highly doubt I could replicate it on my own, but actually building an object was more helpful than watching videos.

    We are using AutoCAD in my landscape design class and I have been struggling with learning it. We’re working from videos, which is not my preferred way of learning. However, after restarting my assignment because my dimensions were off, I finally completed my garden plan. It’s not perfect but definitely a personal victory.

    I made chocolate chip cookies one evening – I use mini smarties and milk chocolate and mini chips. They’re a family favourite.

  3. Had some downers in the last few weeks, as well as some WTFs (National Association of Social Workers: “how do you prove people attended all 4 days of the online workshop?” Well, there are 8 or less students, they keep their cameras on all the time, people can ask questions at any time, on top of all the planned discussions, exercises, and the fact they pair up and actually DO the technique they are learning. NASW: “not good enough, must use monitoring software or replace your quiz with an 85 question test by Wednesday” because, you know, DOING it doesn’t prove you learned it).

    However, on an embracing the good side, I have 6 days to go on my diet and should hit my goal – or close anyway. Done by Valentines day, for which we have pre-ordered a lovely carryout dinner. And it is cold, but we have sun. And I know what I am going to read next. Nothing but good times ahead.

  4. This week has been the definition of whiplash with high highs and low lows. So maybe that is all the more reason to focus on the happies.

    It is snowing and I don’t have to go anywhere. We all have long underwear and good boots for snow, so we may go out sledding later today. That doesn’t make me particularly happy, but it doesn’t make me unhappy and it definitely makes the kids happy. I mostly stand around, cheer them on, and feel grateful for my long underwear and the hot chocolate or tea in my immediate future.

    My older son is back in physical school two days a week, which has made us all happy. It has a limited number of students, masks on unless eating or drinking and lots of procedures in place to keep things safe. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t at least still somewhat concerned, but it has made a huge difference in his mood and attitude. I’ve been joking that it has taken a pandemic for us to realize that the autistic one in the family is also the most social one. He has been asking very consistently about school friends, parties, family visits, etc. And this is a kid that doesn’t have high verbal skills, so if he talks about something, you know it is really engaging to him. He bounced off to school on Friday, just thrilled.

  5. Glad Emily’s adoption is at the in-the-house and the scratching-behind-the-ears. The Trust will come.

    Ventured into the small office/throw everything in there and I will clean/sort/load the “to be shredded” which made a pretty good dent in it. I have boxes of books, BOXES. Yes, many I had forgotten. I went on a spending spree when Chapters closed our store several years ago. The new in the mall store a tenth of what it was. Crowded little store. So many lovely discounted books. Anyway, that made me happy.

  6. It’s snowing again.

    You’d think after thirty plus inches, the weather gods would say, “Y’know, they’ve had enough, but no . . .”

    OTOH, we safe and warm inside and it is beautiful. That’s happy-making.

  7. I’ m happy Emily found you Jenny. I’m not happy that we’re supposed to get snow at the end of the week. Snow is only allowed on Christmas Day!

    I’m irritated that I’ve just read a romance novel in which the author decided to add an unnecessary epilogue and changed the narrator from the protagonist to the antagonist. I’ve never read a novel where the narrator changed for one chapter. Writers, does this ever work?

    1. Let me guess: The antagonist is the protagonist of the next novel.

      The only way I could see it working would be to Keyser Soze the story, which I would think would be just annoying in a novel.

  8. Ridiculously fat… or pregnant?

    (Because I am a pot stirrer apparently.)

    This ended up being a very good week; a (construction) contract that had been delayed for a year due to COVID have gotten the provisional green light (and the provision is easy to meet so I think it’s a go). It feels like we’re coming out of a very dark horrible tunnel filled with zombies and putrid evil, and the light is not another train headed our way. I cannot tell you how well I slept for the first time in months.

    1. Oh, good point! And quite possible with a girl who’s been around the block a few times without a nice cottage to settle into.

      Jinx 3+4

    2. My guess (just a guess) is that she’s been spayed because she’s not feral, she lets herself be petted. Either that or she’s a he and I’ll have to change the name to Emmett.

      I think she’s fat because she’s been a stray for months (my neighbor says two years) and now she’s got high quality cat food on demand (I keep the bowl filled) plus she’s trapped in a rural cottage where there are mice. I was afraid she was crazy to get out, but looking at her lounging at the foot of my bed (back bedroom, not the one with dogs) and I’m thinking she’s decided that 24-hour meals are not a bad trade for freezing temps and pushy foxes.

      If I end up with a house full of kittens, I’ll let you know.

      1. My dad’s adopted stray is very chubby. We thought pregnant too, at first, but no. It’s just that she hasn’t realized yet that there will always be food, so she doesn’t need to eat like there is no tomorrow.

        1. Plus it’s winter so she’s all fluffed up for the cold. At this point, she could have kittens in her cheeks.

  9. I dud well for the first 4 days wirh the February creative challenge, the went to visit my parents with my sketch book and pencils. Yet, there was no chancd to sketch them and since the visit was somewgat exhausting (lots of talk and emotion crammed into one day) i fell behind. Didn’t get to do a sketch yesterday either, argh.
    But today, I managed to do three – thanks to dh and ds being VERY patient and sat for me. Now I’m very glad, maybe even a bit happy, because it’s so nice to escape the treadmill for half an hour for each sketch.
    It’s so great that the drawings don’t hsve to be good, nevertheless they get better with practice, yeah 🙂

  10. This is the second Sunday in a row it’s snowed. Nothing like what our hostess has–thank goodness! Happiness is having snow – appropriate boots so I can get the dogs out for playtime. Here it’s just a few inches and the fur girls are joy on feet out there.

    1. We are getting snow all week, with at least ten days of round the clock below freezing temps which means . . . more shoveling. Argh.

      1. Upstate NY is getting less than you. That’s just bizarre. On the other hand, it is snowing on and off, the temps are low, and we’ll probably catch up before it is all over.

        Is it spring yet?

        1. That’s exactly what is forecast for Chicago, except we’ll be around and below zero. And snow 3 times in the next 10 days.

  11. My weekend has been cursed by my own clumsiness. Yesterday started off with spilling a cup of coffee on myself from pants to stocking feet and the kitchen floor. Today I decided to bake and reached up into the cabinet for the flour and managed to upend the canister onto myself. Not a lot but enough. Brush and sweep.

    Last week while Jenney was shoveling for chocolate we were saved from snow because we’re along the coast and had rain. Bayside has ridiculous high tides lately that are slowly edging towards the street, while ocean side has to battle waves, rocks and small boulders that whip up onto the shore and over the seawalls. But that was last week, today it is snow. To start it is fat and fluffy (excuse me I just thought of Emily let’s hope it isn’t so) and supposed to go on for the rest of the day.

    On the bright side we secured appointments for the Covid shot this week. By the time I filled out info for my husband I got the last time slot 15 minutes after him.

  12. My typical Sunday is not to be. Any shopping will be alone. “Dinner out” would be Uber Eats. Bah! Humbug!

    Did it snow today? Yes, but I slept through it. Now it’s drizzling – the roads are clear again, the grass sticks up through a huge white shrinking doily. Annoyingly, it reminds me of my hairline. More bah! More humbug!

    A coworker’s adult daughter contracted the covid, so he’s out for awhile. He works the midnight to eight shift. To let the other midnight worker have time off, I’ll be working two of those shifts this week, going in Tuesday night and again Wednesday night, then returning to my regular evening shifts (four to midnight) on Friday and Saturday. I snuck a day off in there, somewhere.

    There is no way I’ll remember my reading until Good Book Thursday, so…

    I finished The Trouble With Huguenots. It was not a reread – parts were previously published, which made them seem familiar, is all.

    I’m in the second book of the Cecilia and Kate series by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevemeyer. Regency and magic, huzzah!

    I reread the Rat Rebellion by Goodlett and Huff. It’s the third book in what is now known as the Starwings series. It has a novel (hur, hur) way of interstellar and interplanetary travel.

    I finished Lucid Dreamer by Delta. Delta is the pseudonym of an excellent Canadian author. I last read it circa 1997. It was a pleasure.

    There. Ending on a high note, without further bah-ing nor humbugging.

  13. I’m happy because yesterday I felt lousy and had ahem gut issues. So I shut myself up in my room and slept the day away and worried about infecting my family. But today I am fine, so don’t drink red wine, Morgan, you know this happens. So I’m happy.

    Also had some great walks, and found my Dad’s reading glasses under a little table on top of a foot stool. He was being a real bear, and it cheered up real fast once he could see his work.

    The sight of my black cat trotting over the white crust on a grey day made me happy.

  14. Some of the people I love most have gotten their first shot. A great start! It balanced out my worry over my mom’s latest medical issue. She’s back home now, and seems well, but the doctors can’t figure out what’s causing it to happen.

  15. Happy because it was a good writing week–I finished and sent off a freelance job that had been vexing and taking more effort than I’d have liked. I’m working on a nonfiction piece, and got back the first critique from my writing partner; it wasn’t as bloody as I’d feared it might be. Today I did some revising on it, per her suggestions. As always, her ideas make it better.

    Happy for indoor plumbing, central heat, and warm clothes (big problem in my county with homelessness, because shelters haven’t been operating, so I can’t take those items for granted). Also, time to nap, and cats to cuddle with. And sun’s out, despite the cold.

  16. My daughter turned 13.

    The women in our family (grandmothers, aunties, found aunties) bought her a pandora charm bracelet, with charms from each of us to remind her (when/if the going gets tough) of who she is and that she is loved. Also, jewellery!

    It made me very happy.

    1. My grand parents bought me a charm bracelet when they went to Europe and it has made me happy for almost 50 years. Although I haven’t added many charms to it (have you seen the price of gold?) I have fond memories of how the tiny hiking boot inspired me to go to Switzerland and of stroking the cunning little mouse when I was nervous. I hope your daughter has as least as many happy times wearing her bracelet.

      1. My parents bought me a charm bracelet as a souvenir of London when we were there in 1954, which I still have (though much too small to wear). I hadn’t heard of pandora bracelets and charms, so I looked them up. They look less likely to come loose or be lost than the charms I remember. Now trying to remember the Very Fancy charms with moving parts from decades ago . . . .

    2. What a wonderful collective gift. Hope your daughter likes it.

      I have a Pandora bracelet with stones for Hope, Joy, & Happiness. Wear it everyday. Love the energy and the constant reminders of good in the world:)

  17. I didn’t get in trouble this week at work. It was actually really surprisingly chill and I even ran out of things to do towards the end of the day most of the week, which was nice (esp. from home). Other than that, I watched another storytelling festival yesterday, even if I didn’t get to be in it this time, sigh. A friend of mine was in an online play, so I got to see that.

    I’m still not in contact with the crush for so far all of 2021. I’ve just given up on trying to Make Conversation with him, I’m utterly out of ideas trying to make it work if he’s got little/nothing to say, and maybe if nobody (including him, but others too are having this problem) have nothing to say, I shouldn’t keep bothering them. I guess it’s too demanding to try to keep demanding people talk to me just because talking is the only thing we can do long distance and otherwise we lose the connection.

    But I have been racking my brains as to what to make him for a birthday present (next month). I wish I could send him something for Valentine’s, but obviously we’re not even close to that, so I will not be doing anything. But I saw the Luvbots on mochimochiland.com and I think that will be the birthday present. The closest thing one can do to gifting a hug, I suppose.

    1. I may have stopped sending postcards because I can’t think of what to say, but when I got a belated New Year’s card a week or 2 ago, I felt like Spring had arrived. So if you want to keep the channel open, go ahead and write and /or call him. But it sounds like the level of connection was uneven before the pandemic exacerbated everything.

      1. The problem is that my entire theater crowd (him included) vastly prefers in person conversation and hangouts, and in the beforetimes there was group texting (not that much one on one), but nobody wants to do that any more. It’s not exactly great and safe to meet people in person in general and with the new variants, that’s even worse. So I guess they’d all rather not talk for years than do online communication. I’m not even gonna try with actual phone calls, who likes those?

        But yes, it’s been uneven at best now and he has gotten way introverted during the whole thing and I am just out of ideas to carry conversations. I just keep thinking that nobody wants to talk and I’m just being a naggy bitch by trying and I need to take the hint and Go Away.

        I like your postcards idea, but maybe draw a picture? Do collage? Stick stickers all over?

        1. I like phone calls because they allow a back and forth at the time and you can ask for clarification if you aren’t sure about your interpretation of some thing, but post cards provide a written record of the other person’s effort. Last week I sent an email to an out of state friend who didn’t know I now have a computer and it opened up a new channel for communication. It doesn’t matter so much what channel you choose as long as you let people know that they haven’t been forgotten.

          But that applies to the rest of your theater friends as well. It sounds like you’ve all drifted into a “we’ve always done it that way” rut that could use some shaking up. My friend Eva prints cards of her watercolors and gives them to her circle of friends and that includes them in what was her weekly art class. The main thing is to concentrate on the act of sending rather than the hope of return, because that is setting yourself up for disappointment.

  18. I am so happy that the House and Senate passed the fast track procedure for a big COVID relief bill which really should make things much better on the pandemic front and also cut child poverty in half for a year (then we need to extend the key provision but it’s much easier to extend a tax cut. )

    We had snow but it doesn’t need shoveling. It was just warm enough to melt on the road and sidewalk and just cold enough to stick on the grass.

    My daughter continues to be endlessly entertained by her kitten. So no winter blues for her this year.

    The medical people in my family got their second COVID shots and my mom got her first.

    My son seems to be actually talking with his roommates. (Evidence—he apparently gave them extensive sex Ed because they got none in Texas and little in Australia. I figure you have to be having real conversations to do this.) And actually trying to cook new foods.

    We had backyard guests for mulled cider and mince pies. It turns out they are perfect pandemic food’s because they are hot, vegetarian, and in little metal
    Cups so no chance of spreading Covid.

    Ms. Gorman will recite poetry for the superbowl. I am trying to imagine what other unlikely locations will now have her read. She could open the stock exchange? Is she singlehandedly going to create a poetry renaissance in 2021?

    My 2021 bingo card may be even weirder than 2020…..

  19. I’m not in a slump but maybe on a plateau? Anyway, I’m rereading Pratchett’s ‘Reaper Man’ so that’s bound to help.

    In between snowflakes, I got to pick up that picture I bought. It’s lovely. I need to figure out where to hang it.

    I’ve been worried about the birds. Ususally I see cardinals and crows. And I, at least, hear woodpeckers. So far, it’s pretty much been the usual sparrows. Well, I’ve seen a cardinal pair and have heard woodpeckers and crows. I’m feeling much better now.

    Also, this may be snarky, but I am thrilled with the lawsuits being brought by the voting system companies. They have inspired my new motto: Pushback at every opportunity.

    1. A couple of weeks ago, I saw a BLUEBIRD! I was on the road to my house, and I had to stop and get out of the car and look. It was so magical.

      Also, we seem to have an owl somewhere near our house. I keep hearing it.


      1. I have many owls in the neighborhood. One of many reasons my (60 pound) dog is afraid to go out by himself. [There is no eye-roll emoji. I need one!]

          1. I really like the scrolling sheet of eye-rolls.
            His fear of coyotes–which I hear singing at least three nights a week–is more reasonable, even though they probably wouldn’t try to eat him. I suspect there was an owl incident when he was a puppy.

          2. My niece has had two different dogs killed by coyotes. They lure them off the property to where they are alone then the pack takes them down.

        1. We used to have a St. Bernard who thought she was the size of a poodle. (She was raised with them). And my parents took her to get bred with another St. Bernard….. She took one look at him, and jumped through the open window, back into the car. 🙂

          She would also try & get on your lap.

  20. I had two walks with old friends this week. One of them was past the cottage I used to live in, and my friend was thrilled to discover all the snowdrops along the lane there – it was lovely to share them with her. Also had a couple of long chats with other friends this weekend. And I’ve got an appreciative author – he even wants to send me a bottle of wine as a reward for editing the messy notes to his book!

    1. Oh, and I’m starting to hope I may be able to have friends to stay again by May: so far, vaccinations are happening fast, and people our age (64) should be done before May. I am trying not to count my chickens, but it makes me happy to hope.

        1. I bought catnip right after Emily started to come inside to eat. She’s totally uninterested. So I looked it up and one third of cats lack the catnip gene.
          Emily is too cool for catnip.

          1. I’m not a YEOWW affiliate but the amazing thing about YEOWWW is even cats who are ambivalent about other catnip adore YEOWWW banana. I don’t have a clue why it evokes a response that most catnip won’t in a third of cats and I admit it’s not like I’ve surveyed 5 million cats. Wishing you and Emily share many cozy winters together. I love ❤️ it that you’re already describing her as too cool.

          2. My senior female cat is a very bad drunk. She got super violent when she had catnip. It was so bad I had to hide it in a cupboard and then get it out of the house.

  21. I went to see my doctor on Friday afternoon and just got the results of my blood tests this afternoon (on a Sunday? I guess I’ll have to stop dissing their computer system). My blood sugar is the lowest it has been in years, despite the fact that I haven’t been able to recommit to my diet. It is not prediabetic, it is not borderline, it is normal!!!!!!!!!! We didn’t check my A1C, but if that is okay when I go back in 2 months, I will be out of the woods. I am SO happy!

    Maybe I can even use this as incentive to go the rest of the way back on my diet.

  22. I was happy to get through most of the workweek in my preferred Methodical Plod mode.

    Happy to completely skive off yard work since I have an upcoming long weekend on which to get dirty.

    Happy to spend hours in bed reading, to be well, and to hear from my sister about her a) new car; b) imminent bathroom renovation; c) snow. (They don’t get a lot of it, or often, so it’s an Event.)

    Also, I watched the film of ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,’ which I had never seen or even heard before, and was thoroughly entertained. Donny Osmond: the man can really sing. As could the rest of the cast. There are clips on YouTube if anyone is interested in sampling. ‘Close Every Door’ – great song.

  23. Australia’s internal borders have pretty much opened up, so last week I was able to go on a tour of regional NSW with my picture book, Ella and the Ocean. (This is the one that won the NSW Premier’s Lit Award, so the State Library organised and paid for the whole thing.)

    Given that I was talking to mostly preschool kids, I had made a finger puppet of Ella. And in a little red-dirt town called Forbes, halfway through my talk, a kid called Rosie stood up and said, ‘Can I tell Ella something?’
    ‘Okay,’ I said.
    She walked up to the front, put her face close to my finger puppet and whispered. Then she sat down again.

    I have no idea what she said. But it made me happy.

  24. I picked up my Christmas cards, but still need to address them. My sister in law willed me her show village houses. I am making a Christmas tree snow village stand, (why? It seemed like a good idea in October). Fortunately I live in Minnesota so maybe a snow village Easter tree. If I keep my pace it may yet be a Christmas display.

  25. I discovered what’s been making me feel flat and unmotivated and unable to be happy: putting off overdue paperwork. I discovered this by gritting my teeth last week and doing the worst of the rotten stuff. And instantly felt much better about everything.

    I had no idea it was affecting me that much. Not making that mistake again. The paperwork’s staying done, blast it.

    1. Boy, do I know what you mean! When I let my stuff build up it completely immobilizes me. Here’s to a new year without piles everywhere!

    2. With you 100%!! I’m working om mine, and doing laundry, and that’s all I’m doing until both are done!

      Happy is continuing to lose weight, and seeing improvement in my glucose numbers!

  26. In a week with a good share of happiness, tops was Jenny’s recommendation of Take A Look at the Five and Dime. I read it three times, shared comments here, and even urged my husband to read it which he did. (He hadn’t realized how messed up my high school / college years were at home — worse than Ori’s — but that’s okay — he doesn’t want to know now and there’s no way I could explain nutsiness to someone from a saner family with much higher worldliness and values. In fact, I’m glad to store away those memories and recall my mother’s dottiness in Grandma Erving’s.)

    I sure wish it were available on paper at a reasonable price. I don’t enjoy reading off a screen.

  27. My mom got her first Covid shot. Highlight of the week.

    I spent the weekend at a friend’s house on the river. Wine, jigsaw puzzle, movies, food, actual human companionship. It was great.

    We are almost done with the quarterly crazy period at work, which is always a good thing.

    One of my aerogarden tomato plants has an actual baby tomato on it. Otherwise just blossoms, but it gives me hope. (I really hope I get more than one very expensive tomato.)

    All in all, it’s looking like it will be a good week.

  28. My beloved aunt got her first jab/shot.

    She is pretty much the only blood family I have left, we are very close (though unfortunately not geographically), and she has essentially zero immune system due to (suspected accidental by Dr) penicillin overdose when she was small. So her normal life is rather like lockdown is for us now, as she has severe allergic reactions to all sorts of things that ‘normal’ people don’t (like, the chemicals in plastic) which rather restricts what she can do.

    She also often has bad reactions to any medications she has to take – to the point where the Dr has to consider which is worse: take the med or not – so I had assumed that she would not be getting the jab, and have been petrified that she was going to get coronavirus. She is also elderly, so that combined with everything else would not bode well.

    But she has had her first dose and come through it with (for her) relatively little reaction (certainly less than she expected).

    I cried when I heard. And I’m not a crier.

    This is the best happy I’ve had in a long, long time!

      1. I hadn’t realised how high my worry-level was until I was told she’d had the jab and my emotions overran – I was mainly dealing by trying not the think about it, but am not sure that is a particularly good strategy!!

        Definitely riding a happy high now though 🙂

  29. I happily presented an award to a deserving high school senior last week, though due to scheduling conflicts couldn’t do it in person to two other deserving high school seniors. The chairman of the appropriate committee took pictures . . . and her husband extracted me from one and photoshopped me into the other two. To be as one with Bernie Sanders! My brother is still snickering.

    AND someone has posted some information in Find A Grave that identifies my great-great-great-grandmother and her first husband and a couple of children by him that I never knew about. But now I have her maiden name and her first family, so all I need to do is find out what happened to her second husband, who seems to have buried her in 1850, but his two daughters by her are living as foster children with two different families in the county in the 1850 census. This is progress on what had been a Brick Wall for more than fifty years for me. The Internet is wonderful. I am a seriously Happy Camper right now.

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