Happiness is Beauty

I’ve had a rough week (who hasn’t?) so I was fairly down when I started reading this essay by James Farago in the NYT, “What a Tiny Masterpiece Reveals About Power and Beauty.” It’s profusely illustrated with beautiful images, but what really drew me in was how much the writer loves his subject, in this case, the way art draws artists from across cultures, cultural adaptation never seen as politically incorrect assimilation but joyously celebrated as evolution and above all, beauty. To make beautiful things is to grow and adapt and be open to everything.

This essay and its illustrations made me happy. What made you happy this week?

50 thoughts on “Happiness is Beauty

  1. I also loved that piece. I think I first encountered this series of deep looks at a piece of art here and every time I am blown away by the things I learn and see with a little guidance.

  2. There was so much light outside today that I washed all the back windows. It’s funny how such little things can brighten your feelings as much as the extra light is brightening the room.

  3. I am happy to have arrived at Easter, after a year-plus of Lent. We are meeting
    in person at church, masked and distant, but not allowed to sing, which borders
    on criminal on Easter. But still, together.

    Also, I had my first massage in 13 months this week.

  4. I read this article in the app. It let me zoom in on the paintings to see the details.

  5. The Chair of my program wrote me to ask for examples of issues in the instruction of some of our courses. I provided her a detailed response and am happy that we are finally being taken seriously. The last straw was one of our instructors using scribbles on a piece of paper to explain construction equations to us over Zoom. Even if substantive changes aren’t made, I know that I’ve stood up for myself and my classmates.

    Spring has arrived and new flowers are coming up everyday in my garden. Collected egg cartons out recycling bins to use as pots for flower seeds. Ordered a yard of new soil for my garden – won’t be long before I can get outside and dig.

  6. It felt more of a step-change than usual when the clocks went forward last Sunday: suddenly there’s LIGHT! And then we had two maverick summer days on Tuesday & Wednesday, and loads of sun since. So I’ve been for a five-hour walk with a friend; and sat in the garden most of the day today, doing bits to the garden when I felt like it. My friend Pam got an allotment on Wednesday, after waiting 18 months; her excitement was infectious. I went to another friend’s garden for a chat, and came away with lots of cuttings. I’m starting to make tentative plans to visit and be visited by friends. Things are definitely looking up.

  7. Happiness is the sun shining brightly on this Easter morning. I can get out into the garden and deal with the rose hedge. The article made me happy. So detailed and beautiful. The incorporation of many cultures.

    Almost the end in sight on completing the narrative for H. Have had to leave it sit for days to marinate and change for clarity. It has been a difficult writing process. Also made me think about many things and how to move forward to more happiness. Lots of writing in the future. Makes me happy.

    Eldest son and wife have been here, more happiness. They bought a ‘75/6 17’ Boler trailer. Renovating inside. They always do fab job. Youngest son and family are on the cover of a magazine in Canada. Waiting for it to hit the stands. Style at Home Outdoor Living. A photo of their garden taken by the garden designer over 2 years ago. They just sold the house.

  8. It is nice and sunny, though cool. My daffodils are doing the best ever. I’m waiting for the azaleas to bloom. They always make me happy.

    I got my second vaccine shot and had a not good reaction, spent the day in bed with a fever and nausea. My husband asked how I was doing and I said “Worse than a cold, not as bad as chemo.” We have a friend that is a nurse working with the vaccines and she said I was still in the normal range of reactions and to not worry.

  9. It’s a bright sunny day and warm enough to walk with my coat wrapped around my waste, and to sit out in the sun with a cup of tea.
    Actually wen to the gym, since both parents are vaccinated, and I’m going for #2 Wednesday. Just need that weight work to make my back feel good, it’s been in bad shape. So now I’m stiff, but virtuous. And my back feels better. Should also help with my funk.
    Have eaten plenty of chocolate this week, so that’s been fun.

  10. I got in a musical! Shrek, as ensemble. Yay, I need something to do.

    I also got my second shot this week, so huzzah, I am hopefully almost done in 1.5 weeks with this shit and can go outside with at least somewhat less worry.

    And did a lot of online hangouts this weekend.

    Here are knitted eggs:
    And “Jabby the Friendly Syringe.”

    1. I love the egg with the duckling on it! If I had a printer, I would make copies of that picture and tape them up all over my apartment. It reminds me of a crazy little wind up toy I have been neglecting and has reminded me to take it out and play with it. Thank you for the inspiration.

      1. I wish I had a printer too! Nowhere to fit one in around here though, and I had a horrible time trying to get them to cooperate with a laptop.

  11. One more week until my second shot. Havening a hard time waiting.

    Finished a little bit more yard clean up. I’ll leave the rest until the temperatures are warmer. We had some ‘onion snow’ earlier in the week but I think that’s the last of the white stuff.

    Sleeping well.

  12. I need to go to Best Buy and acquire a WinTen Laptop and a portable hotspot. Upon this Fairly Ridiculous Electronic Device (FRED), I shall install a copy of MS Office (it’s already paid for), a Kindle Reader Ap, Mobipocket Reader and Mobipocket Creator, Calibre, and NoteTab Pro 6.2, and lastly, the RAR compression software.

    As one might guess from the specific software, this will be my Library Computer, containing every ebook I own in every format in which they came, including audiobooks. The background screen will proclaim this (fine print in parentheses):

    (south) OF

    I will be happy. For a while.

    1. Awesome idea, Just don’t stint on the screen quality, also back it up. My friend gave away her CD collection after she loaded it on her laptop. Laptop died, she lost it forever

  13. Three things: 1. I made the last mortgage payment on my house, 2. I finally quilted a red & white lap quilt that’s been sitting around waiting for quilting for months (and I’ll post a pic on a Wednesday when I finish the binding), and 3. I think my hypothyroidism is in remission, apparently because of probiotics.

    It’s weird because I always thought probiotics were just another fad that supposedly cures everything, like vitamin D was a few years ago, but apparently there’s evidence (animal studies, not humans), that they can help thyroid function. I didn’t know it when I started taking the probiotics for other reasons (balance out a long course of antibiotics, doctor recommended) and just kept taking them out of habit, and then my thyroids starting producing hormone again a few months later. I had a relatively mild case of hypothyroidism, so I’m not saying this would work for everyone, and I didn’t do it on purpose, but now my doctor thinks I’m in remission, so she has me tapering off the current already-low dose, and the probiotics are the only thing I can think of that might have caused the remission.

    1. Huzzah! I will be paying off my mortgage sometime in the next few months (depending on royalty payments and a few other things). The closer I get, the happier I am.

      And probiotics are great. When I had to give my cats antibiotics, they always ended up with horrible diarrhea, sometimes for months. Once I learned to give them probiotics at the same time, it didn’t happen again. So of course, when I had my first colonoscopy, did I think of this? No. Took me a couple of weeks after to get my system regulated again.

      1. Ooh, I never thought of the feline version. Fingers crossed, none of mine have needed antibiotics, but I’m storing that idea away for the future, just in case.

    2. Yay on the mortgage, Gin! Such a freeing accomplishment. Definitely a very good Happy. Glad the thyroid thing is moving in the right direction, too:)

    3. Probiotics have been my own little miracle drug. I’m so glad that you are seeing positive results.

  14. Oh, wow, that is terrific news! Will you continue with the probiotics once you are off the thyroid meds?

  15. My youngest son is coming home for his older brother’s graduation in June, even though the seniors will walk virtually! This delights me. It has been about two years since my youngest came home to Seattle from Hawaii. I am also delighted that my eldest is FINALLY graduating! Now he just has to take and pass his Engineer-in-Training (since that is a precursor to the Professional Engineer certificate required by many companies nowadays), and find a job. But he will. And move out. O Frabjous Day!

  16. It is beautifully sunny today, but not as warm as it looks. I don’t care. It is still warm enough for sandals and I have a jean jacket that makes me happy, so it is only disappointing when compared to temperatures on the other side of town.

    I had a Zoom call with my psyche resident for the first time in 3 months. He (and, I assume, his supervisor) agreed that there isn’t much upside for me to continue trying all the newer antidepressants and that counseling seems to be my best, or only option. I talked to his supervisor later that afternoon to ask her if she, with her longer experience, had any advice and was pleased with how quickly she responded. The only trouble was when I asked the resident if he would speak to my therapist. He declined and asked if I wanted the name of a therapist at that hospital. I asked him if he would talk to the therapist if I switched to one at the hospital. He told me that the 2 departments didn’t work together in house, either. I wasn’t really expecting any other answer, but after I hung up I felt more distressed than I have felt in 2 or 3 years. I realize that the pandemic has stretched resources to the breaking point, but if 2 such closely related departments in the same hospital won’t talk to each other, is the patient responsible for finding options and implementing them? And how is that supposed to work?

    Thank God for the sunshine to remind me that there are good things outside of the medical machine.

    1. As a patient advocate, that’s so frustrating to hear, since so much of advocacy, in the rare disorder community especially, is about needing multi-disciplinary treatment, and doctors being willing to talk to real experts (who are often on the forefront of being willing to talk to doctors with less experience with that rare disorder). Argh!

  17. I’m happy for my first swim of the season. Gorgeous days in L.A. Only problem with sunbathing was the constant buzz of bees in the orange tree. Lots of blossoms exciting them, I suppose.

  18. This re-affirming making beautiful things is ok, and it does not always have to make a statement or be a profound movement for the sake of it. In college I studied visual arts and kept getting into trouble for two reasons, I was not a purist and the fact that I loved ceramics to oil painting was sacrilege and thought less of compared to the pure surrealist sculpture artist next to me and trouble because I wanted to make pretty things, things that my eye could find delight and rest in. My school wanted me to try to push for more controversy, and out of the “craft” into the “fine” art……………..and all I can think of is damn it I like painting pretty things or making vessels that can be used as well as making the user smile.

  19. I saw that piece in the NYT as well. Loved the detail. Have always adored the Persian style.

    Today happy was knowing I don’t have to log in for work tomorrow. 🙂 Also pulling out a novel idea I had in 2016 and writing over 4000 words for it. Was originally thinking this would be set circa 1895 but it needs to be 1905 (for Reasons) which is actually kind of cool and still means Sixteen Tons o’ Research.

    It was a gorgeous day today, but all I did outside was feed the birds. Then I sat and played with my story. No regrets.

  20. I’m happy that the majority of boomers have been vaccinated and the vax is now open to everyone and it looks like we will all get ahead of this virus even if we need booster shots. And Easter & Spring always make me happy – my grandma had a farm with feral kittens and other baby animals every spring so I have awesome memories of spring time.


  21. A group of people I’ve never met in person had my back in a difficult online situation this week, and it’s been a shot in the arm that I needed. I’ve been having some lovely conversations with them since then.

    I also caught up with some friends from my uni days, and it was as if no time had passed since I last saw them.

  22. I got a pedicure. I received my second vaccine today. I had great company this week. I won both the Bogle and the Wingspan games we played (so I am shallow. Sue me). And this week I will finally get a large hernia repaired – although it will require an incision instead of laparascopy so it will probably be uncomfortable for a while. Things are looking up. (I am ignoring the sewer line replacement for now).

  23. I am happy that today is Easter, that I found my pink sweater with the bunny on it to wear today, that we had a good Easter dinner with plenty left over, and that the family had a happy day.

    Also happy that a gold coin hoard that turned up in the UK had coins from Edward IV to Henry VIII including one with the initials of his first three wives — Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour! Was this bragging, or what? After Jane died apparently he didn’t continue to include the initials of his wives on coins — or at least I don’t know of any where they’re included.

    Also happy that a host of the late great Pharaohs of Egypt had a spectacular outing moving from the old museum to the fancy new one — the old one was just too small, and too crowded with Important Finds, to accommodate all the tourists, not to mention the scholars.


    Also happy to see a correction / rebuttal of a Politico article claiming that plea deals for January 6 insurrectionists mean that few of them face serious charges. Surprisingly, Politico doesn’t seem to have applied the principle that you charge people with the minor stuff first — after all, you have video evidence that they trespassed — and when you have the material to make the case, you file a superseding indictment with the more serious charges. Sort of like this guy in Florida, Joel Greenberg, whose case was about to go to trial on twelve Federal charges when the Feds added another twenty-one (judge probably not overjoyed as this creates scheduling problems; defense attorneys undoubtedly have claimed or will claim that the additional charges will require additional preparation before the trial can properly begin).

    1. Update: plea deal negotiations going on and now at an “advanced” stage with Jon Schaffer, one of the bear spray guys.

  24. Today’s happy was a visit with Dear Son. We talked, he made chicken pot pie from scratch for dinner, and we had a nice walk in the park.

    Tomorrow’s happy will be getting my first vaccine dose.

    Things seem to be looking up.

    Now if only those backyard sprinklers would fix themselves.

  25. We have been having gorgeous autumn weather – still, sunny days and cool nights. It’s always our best season. And daylight saving finished last weekend, but I have decided to stay on it, because I like getting up in the dark when the world is quiet, and going outside to see us slowly turning towards the sun.

  26. Happiness is having an appointment for my first vaccination! Also a good zoom chat yesterday afternoon.

    March rains brought green grass and growing/blooming things. Except something is taking off the tops of my tulips before they bloom. Either they are edible or a local squirrel is being very malicious.

    My climatis is doing well and I discovered a shoot coming up away from the main which means it has its own roots so it can be gifted to a friend who has wanted one for a while.

  27. Happiness is warmer days and sunshine (after an April Fool’s Day snowstorm, just to make sure we all appreciated them).

    The biggest happiness was finishing the first draft of the 3rd cozy and sending it off to my editor, and then finishing the proof edits of the upcoming Llewellyn book and sending them off. Then having an empty desk for the first time in the last couple of years. In a couple of days I’ll start to twitch because I’m out of contract, but for now I’m happy to be able to do some spring cleaning, make plans of this year’s house project, and rejoice over my Llewellyn royalties, which were better than expected. (Apparently everyone had time on their hands during the shutdown and decided it was time to learn to read tarot cards.)

  28. My happy for the upcoming week is getting my second vaccine shot tomorrow. I am REALLY looking forward to having lunch with my already vaccinated friends, seeing and hugging my family without fear, AND getting my hair cut by someone who knows what they are doing, i.e., not me.
    Sunshine and beautiful blooms are icing on the cake and staring at 6 months of mowing the grass is what brings my giddy self back down to earth.

  29. Foraged in the garden, found a bonanza to cut, then arranged into three containers. Most fun was a long-earred rabbit with a scarlet rose dangling down his face. Dear Monty Don included a heritage rose segment from Mottisfont Abbey, to which we have been and the viewing was like a homecoming. On Friday, we picked up a carload of native plants which we will stuff everywhere into the borders and parkways (we’re on a corner). “Stuff Everywhere” is the newly sanctioned planting plan of our native plant group. We can do that.

    1. I continue to be amazed at the fact that people are watching Gardener’s World in other countries. This week there was a short film from a viewer in Oregon!

      1. I’m addicted to it. Ive been watching previous episodes that roughly correspond to the date to stretch it out. In addition to the great gardening advice, it’s very soothing. Like Mr Rogers for grown ups. And both my climatis and my sage are thankful.

      2. We find the show a great Zen end to the week as we watch on Sundays. Also watched his great interview with Sue Smith-Stuart (Stuart-Smith?) during which he really listened and offered up his own garden epiphany account. Two of the American shows down so far, with the Italian yet to go. Also, during the seasonal interim, we found Great British Garden Revival of interest.

        1. Also, lots of publicity over here in the United States for Monty Don.

          All this viewing down to you, Jane B.

        2. I enjoyed his Italian series, and also the French one – there was a lovely encounter with a Parisian allotment-holder, who pressed a carrier bag of produce on him. Just watched the American series again; also really interesting.

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