Happiness is Mistakes

What I have found in my long life, grasshoppers, is that mistakes can be the best thing you make because they lead you places or provide you opportunities you wouldn’t have if you’d followed the right path. Take my order of Whitman Chocolates. It’s not my favorite candy by far, but it comes in that traditional yellow box with the hinged lid and it reminds me of when I was little plus it’s great for holding things. So I bought a 72 piece box, thinking it’d be a nice deep three-layer size retro storage piece. Reader, it was one layer. Yes, the thing is the size of a medium poster which is extremely impractical except . . . I’m about to start working with a co-op sampler from the Knitpicks group on Ravelry which is 10 gms each of 76 colors and I think it’s going to be motifs which means having a big flat box to lay everything out in is very convenient. Plus I have a ton of Felici that I think its going to be motifs. Plus the dumb box makes me laugh. Good mistake.

How did you find happiness this week, mistaken or otherwise?

57 thoughts on “Happiness is Mistakes

  1. My most recent mistakes are all food related.

    Garnish: A garnish is an item or substance used as a decoration or embellishment accompanying a prepared food dish or drink. In many cases, it may give added or contrasting flavor. Some garnishes are selected mainly to augment the visual impact of the plate, while others are selected specifically for the flavor they may impart. This is in contrast to a condiment, a prepared sauce added to another food item primarily for its flavor. A food item which is served with garnish may be described as being garni, the French term for “garnished.”

    I have not “discovered” nor “re-discovered” my favorite garnishes, but I have resumed using them. The list includes several crispy-crunchy fried vegetables, such as Frenches Fried Onions (I use a store brand), or fried red bell peppers, or fried jalapeños, or fried bacon-cheddar crisps. In the chewy category, I use Great Value Reduced Sodium Real Bacon (pieces). I also have bacon bits from Hormel, arrived yesterday from Amazon, but I haven’t entered them in my spreadsheet… yet. They have a third again the sodium of the Walmart store brand. I’ll give them to the dotter.

    Three days ago, I cooked a family-size Stouffer’s Classic Grandma’s Chicken Vegetable Rice Bake. I ate 340 grams that day, what I thought was one-third of the whole based on the weight on the box. I think the box weight includes either or both of the box containing the cooking tray and the cooking tray and film covering the food, because that left two equal 300 gram servings. I’ve blogged before – Trust, But Verify – about weighing everything, because merchants routinely short you. I check my scales (yes, multiple sets) with standard weights (sold separately, of course.)

    Two days ago, I ate a 300 gram serving and some other stuff – hard-boiled eggs and sausage. I needed to eat the eggs before they went bad, anyway, so it wasn’t in any way a loss. I ate too much sodium, but that was the link sausage with the eggs, which I also needed to eat. I already tossed two moldy jalapeño-cheddar brats last week. I hate wasting food.

    That brings us to last night and that third “third.” Another 300 grams of granny’s best, and to raise her game, after re-heating it, I added seven grams each of the five garnishes I’ve named. Good without them, it was outstanding with them. Crunchier and chewier and pepperier… more peppery?

    As an aside, I can eat the crispy stuff by itself, like potato chips. 🙂

    My second meal was simple. I had a bag of Family Farms French Beans, the 227 gram bag that contained 177 grams of beans (insert eye-roll here). Given sodium considerations, I added two servings each of the fried onions and fried red peppers. It was wonderful.

    Now it’s Sunday morning, and I just finished off my stash of fried onions (only 27 grams) and I’m calling it breakfast because it would take Saturday’s sodium over the limit. Not so much a mistake, as flat-out cheating.

    1. I love the Grandma’s Chicken Vegetable Rice Bake! Comforting when it’s chilly out.

      And, I remember reading (somewhere online) that a lady won a cooking contest with the original recipe. And Stouffer’s got it from her. Or maybe they sponsored the contest, so they automatically got the recipe? Can’t remember, but really really love it! 🙂

      1. They make a Chicken & Broccoli Pasta Bake which I always ass-u-med was one of Grandma’s classics. I love them both, but can’t schedule them very often if the diet isn’t to become a joke. Before this iteration of the diet really got going, it had been a joke, and I had both dinners at least once a week. I’d be lying if I claimed there were always leftovers. That’s why I was pushing 300 pounds.

        And that’s why Stouffer’s Classic Grandma’s Chicken Vegetable Rice Bake is my mistake that made me happy. 🙂

  2. Good things!

    This weekend my daughter (13 and 3/4) went on a 20km overnight tramp with Scouts. This particular event the kids have to do their own planning, carry their own stuff (including tents etc), do their own cooking, the lot. They get a morning briefing and three checkpoints each day where the leaders check they’re not missing. She was the only girl in a group of 8 from her local Scouts group (70 or so overall). I feel brave and proud. How cool is that? And my other kid (12) took his trumpet to a pedestrian mall and played Christmas songs for an hour, earning himself half a year’s pocket money in that time. I feel immensely privileged that we have been able to give our kids these experiences and opportunities.

    While she was away we painted our living area, it’s now a fresh, light blue-green and not a perfectly acceptable beige that in comparison looks like mud. Hooray for colour.

    1. For some reason my brain interpreted “overnight tramp” to mean they walked at night (even though I know better–I’ve been a scout) and was saying “20km in the dark! wow!”

  3. I’m going to assume happiness in advance and try and report back. Today I’m going to do a two hour book signing at an Open House event given by the local animal rescue organization that inspired my Catskill Pet Rescue cozy mystery series. They finally bought a new, much larger and more modern building, but at the moment it is just a big empty space, so they are doing a bunch of fundraisers to try and get the money to pay for the interior to be created. I’m a big supporter of the shelter, which is something of a shoestring operation. I got two of my four cats from them. And the board and volunteers who run it as absurdly thrilled to have an author base a series of books on them, so they invited me to take part. I’m really too tired, but it is for a good cause, so I’m hoping I can help them raise some money. Maybe a few people will even buy books.

    Another happy was that I started a fundraiser on Facebook for a friend who is fighting a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer. They have already had a double mastectomy and are now doing radiation (all this on top of dealing with long Covid for the last year). The fundraiser is doing well, and giving some of their other friends a way to help out, so that’s a happy too.

    1. Bless you. Watching a dangerous illness and feeling that you can’t do anything to help is one of the worst frustrations there is. This will also give the other friends a concrete way to show the person fighting cancer how much love and support they have. And it will be something concrete that the cancer fighter can see when they feel wiped out by the radiation.

    2. I’m reporting back to say that the event was a big success, but my going might have been a mistake. There’s this little black cat who was one of the few they brought to show off… She has the unfortunate name of Pierogi, is a little less than 4 years old and has been at the shelter for almost 3 years. (Black cats can have a hard time getting adopted.) They told me she was shy, but she was very affectionate with me when I stuck my fingers into the cage. I am absolutely NOT getting another cat.

      1. Don’t be ridiculous, she’s been there three years and she knew who you were.
        But that name has to go.
        Veronica’s previous name was Gorgeous, and I wasn’t going to be calling that for the next umpteen years. Besides, she was obviously with the wrong people, so whatever you name her is her real name because only you know it.
        Did you go get her yet?

  4. I spent hours this week working on the wrong AutoCAD drawing for a class. The instructor is beyond terrible. However, one of my classmates patiently walked me through the process via video chats on Discord and Zoom and I am finally on the right path.

    I talked with my eldest niece who lives on the other side of the continent. I rarely ever call her which is silly. We had a great chat – she works in social media marketing and gave me some great advice for a business project I’m working on. Plus caught up on her life.

    Visited the farm where I did my coop this summer for a winter market. I realized as we were driving in that it really is my happy place. Picked up the gift DH got me last Christmas. Gorgeous B&W photo of a white peony taken by one of my bosses. Bought some lovely Christmas gifts for other people.

    Finally planted my amaryllis bulbs. One had a bud coming out of the box but we’ll see how many others have buds by Christmas. I plant lots every year and give them as gifts.

  5. I have long hoarded a couple of boxes from Roger’s Chocolates (Canada) because a) they are the right size to fit into drawers where I’ve got part of my bead hoard (OK OK I HAVE A PROBLEM) and b) they smell nice for a really long time.

    Happiness is realizing we’ve made it almost all the way through this year in good financial shape, in good health, without having to replace either old car, and still liking each other.

    Also I finished beta draft of another new novella yesterday, which I realized almost after the fact is mostly a holiday story. May end up tweaking here and there to make it more so, and queue it for the end of 2022. Which means I get to go look for an appropriate image to hand to my designer. It would make me super happy to have six ready-to-go titles in the pipeline by New Year’s!

  6. I just spent a ridiculous amount of money at hotsox.com where they have art socks(!) and good looking halloween socks (like I needed more) and holiday llama socks! In my defense, some of these items are gifts. Of course, some are not………

    We had our by-appointment-only show last week and it went well. We may never go back to open house style, as it is working so well.

    My darling sister made fish pie and gave me some, so I have something lovely for my lunch today.

    Put on a Christmas tablecloth and the holly sheets this morning, so feeling festive.

    1. I envisioned you putting the tablecloth on as a dress (or a sari?) for a festive event; I love my brain’s misinterpretations.

  7. This week we went on another journey to a different scrap metal dealer. This time we had a 30 year old 20″ stove clanging in the back of the truck to get rid of. GPS was once loaned to a son never to be seen again so we armed ourselves with a google map for directions. After we got lost and decided to go to our original metal dealer in another town we were travelling along the street and I noticed we were on the street mentioned on the map and soon enough we were there. Just goes to show not to get discouraged. I was thinking though that a map would be better off showing where a town hall or a post office is rather than a restaurant that changes hands and names.

    1. Mary, have actual maps too. I find looking at a map gives me a better picture in my head of where I’m going. Too many times the map apps have been wrong, like the time we were rushing to Calgary airport. The app took us to the wrong side of the airport and just made it on time for our flight. I like maps. Maps make me happy.

      1. Yes! Maps are a permanent happy. I have a book of maps of the precincts of this county from 1888. Only in the last twenty years have any of the precinct lines changed (as a result of explosive population growth.) Roads, landmarks, yes, but not the precinct boundaries.

  8. Having brunch with my brother and sister today. Two nieces and a nephew are coming too. Yesterday we had the granddaughters for the day. Went to Kid’s Books, the best bookstore for children and teens in Vancouver. Also earlier in the week, we had dinner with my childhood friends before Betty drove through Washington, Idaho, and part of Montana to get back up to Canada in order to drive to Manitoba, (major flooding on both sides of the border). She got home in time for her granddaughter’s birthday.

  9. I am going to latke fest at my sister’s house tonight. Our friend Harriet refuses to fry anything in her house- she’s convinced that she’ll cause a fire. So once every Hanukah, Kitty invites Carl and Harriet over for latkes and homemade applesauce. I usually invite myself over because making 4 or 5 latkes just doesn’t seem worth the mess. As an incentive, I usually come over early and help with the frying so that Kitty is not the only one wearing clothes that smell like fried potatoes for a week afterward. It makes my eyes sting, but the camaraderie and childhood memories make it very sweet. Lighting multiple menorahs on the last night also makes an enormous light, which is very cheering now that the days are getting shorter.

  10. The designer who did kitchen, lounge (old dining room) and bathroom visited, so we’re on calendar to finish the redo (living, bed and book rooms) to last until we’re carted out. We choose to live simpler and lighter. After all the years of collecting books, pottery and furniture, I take pleasure in eyeing what will go. Who woulda guessed?
    Yesterday picked up an Alistair Clark rose, ‘Gladsome’, we won at auction. Clark hybridized in Australia early last century, so this pink climber is made for our hot, dry climate. We’ll place it on the other side of a gate from our ‘Peggy Martin’ climber. That pink rose is a survivor, came through Katrina while all others in a large rose yard drowned.
    Made annual appointments with doctor and dentist, and the groomer will fit in our dogs. AND my Charles Finch book arrived, What Just Happened. Since I lament not detailing in journal notes the pandemic unravel, I plan to annotate his telling with observations in the margins. AND dear Deborah Blake’s Doggone Deadly also came, and I so enjoyed her first, Forbidden Fatality. Looking forward to the third, Claws for Suspicion.

  11. Made me happy to plant my new apricot tree (third time lucky, hopefully) and autumn raspberries. Went to an artists’ network meeting: great to socialize again. I’m slowly sorting out my paperwork and the house; each step completed makes me happy: yesterday it was sorting out my kitchen cupboards.

  12. Pixie’s adoption is final. I’ve applied for her lifetime dog license and ordered a name tag. We’ll be power-walking for years. Yay!

    The holiday cards are in the mail. The minimal amount of decorating is done. That’s Christmans prep unless I need to bake some cookies. Going very basic is making me happy.

  13. Got to see 2 of the 5 shows my daughter perform in for Indiana University Ballet Theater’s Nutcracker. The first night she danced “Snow” and “Spanish” and the second night she danced “Columbine (Doll)” and Flowers.”

    She is graduating so this may be her last Nutcracker ever *sniff* (unless she decides to join a ballet company after college). She’s danced in the Nutcracker every year (except 2020 – the year that wasn’t) since a little girl, I’m really going to miss it.

  14. Thanks! I love hearing about good mistakes.

    I struggle with feeling ashamed of any mistakes or shortcomings, poor book sales, a zit, my kids’ being rude, etc. But Yoga Today’s Sarah Klein said it’s okay to fall out of a pose, and we should face these things with “humor and humility.” I told my yoga class I wished I’d figured that out before, and an older student told me it was okay, some people never figure it out.

    I’m on the train on my way home from a two-day physical theatre workshop in Toronto that was fun and gave me lots of food for thought. I got to stay with a new old friend and her dog and cats and eat my own weight in Thai, Chinese, and Indian food, plus light some Hanukkah candles last night, which felt good. Now I just have to work the kinks out of my neck and shoulders from carrying my back pack all over T.O.

  15. I’d lost my knitting mojo (started a project early this summer, made a mistake, realized 5 long rows later than I need to tink back, and just stopped), but my ears were cold on my windy walk this morning, so I knit a toque. I’ve had a gorgeous ball of Hand Maiden Grande Godiva (super bulky) yarn in my stash forever, and it was perfect – used up all but a yard, and busted through my knitting malaise like a pitcher of Kool-Aid. I’ll take a picture in daylight and tag WorkingWednesday…

    I needed a little cheering. DH and I went to a small Thanksgiving a week ago Saturday, and one of the guests, well, he read his COVID test wrong (maybe he thought it was a pregnancy test and was looking for a plus sign?). Host and hostess are positive, DH is positive, and I’m masking and staying away from the husband in our own home. He’s doing well – cough is much improved today, and the loss of taste appears to be abating already. Looks like it will be a mild case, and if I’m lucky, I will continue to test negative.

    Had my first appointment with my new doc here, and lined up al the stuff that got put off during the plague. Already had my mammo – they do an ultrasound at the same time routinely, which I think is an excellent ideal, and that only experience cost me 2 euros. Next up is my colonoscopy/endoscopy, and my doc asked, “Anesthesia or not?” as if it were my choice and not the insurance company’s. Imagine that.

  16. My niece called me from Hong Kong. I have several nieces, all of whom are wonderful young women, and all of whom make me happy. So it was lovely to talk to her.

    Her sister, who lives in Tasmania, asked if I wanted to go up the mountain again on Christmas day (as we did last year) to sit on Sphinx Rock overlooking Hobart, drink green tea and eat strawberries. Such a nice way to spend the morning.

    And yesterday I went to a concert by my old choir. I’m quite happy to no longer be part of it, but it was fun seeing them and hugging them – Tasmania is opening up to the world in nine days, so we are all getting in as much hugging as possible before covid inevitably arrives.

    1. Hobart is lovely, the one place I’d go to if ever I decide to leave this special place. And to sit on a mountain top above!

  17. A happy accident! And you get chocolate, so it’s all good.

    Found happiness this week by deciding our Christmas present was going to be replacing our saggy old mattress. Ho ho and to all a good night.

  18. We got three cats to the vet on Friday — all in excellent shape, including Maggie, though she will have to go back next month for the second installment on a vaccination. She’s now chipped and registered (and had a bath this morning to which she didn’t object much!). Hugely relieved. She has been identified as a cat who probably needs a tranquilizer before vet visits and they handed us a rather full bottle! Funniest part was that since the vet doesn’t allow owners in the building at the moment, we handed over the carriers outside, but were lucky enough to get an excellent parking space off the street, and could sit in the car while we waited. I’d brought several e-readers, but my brother hadn’t thought of it while wrestling Maggie into the new carrier, so — since I couldn’t interest him in the mysteries and non-fiction on mine, he was reduced to reading WHAT HAVE WE HERE?: The Etiquette and Essentials of Lives Once Lived, from the Georgian Era through the Gilded Age and Beyond, a compendium of weird and wonderful tableware — asparagus tongs, bonbon spoons, grape shears, all kinds of forks, knives, spoons, and servers. He may have concluded that we just don’t dine properly, and he may be right . . . . the thing is, our grandmother, married in 1908, HAD a good many of these pieces, and our other grandparents had a good many, too, so I have, and Mother had, quite a lot of otherwise Obscure Stuff.

    1. Oh my goodness. What does a person DO with a bonbon spoon? Is it for serving them out or for conveying them to the mouth to eat?

      Also, what exactly is defined as a bonbon? Always sounds to me like something a French mother would be murmuring to her crawling baby.

      1. Grandmother said that even their friends (born 1880’s, mostly) didn’t use the spoons, but used their fingers. But by then, chocolates were sold in boxes with the individual pieces in the little paper cups, same as today, so you didn’t have to touch them with your fingers. The predecessor was a sucket fork — a piece with a two-prong fork at one end of the handle, and a small spoon at the other, intended for fruit preserved in sugar syrup.

        Bon bon, means “good – good” and, of course if the universal French word for candy.

      1. We have grandmother’s. I’ve never used them for table grapes, but remember one year using them to trim the very top bit of the Christmas tree so I could fit the angel on it securely. They’re relatively sturdy scissors.

    2. I have never found a use for the ice cream forks (1 dozen) that belonged to my great-great-aunt, married 1882. I use her silverware daily, but they don’t make ice cream in bricks any more. They certainly make oysters, but I have never used the oyster forks, either. And they’re so pretty, like little tiny tridents.

      1. My brother was saying the same, but we usually serve ice cream “rough” scooped into a bowl. The forks were used for molded ice cream served on a plate, and I haven’t seen anything so fancy since the year I bought the Baskin-Robbins ice cream turkey for Thanksgiving dessert. I believe my brother “carved” it!

  19. I took a metric crap-ton of my creations (quilts, blankets, pot holders) in my suitcase to my extended family in Texas over the weekend. My Christmas package mailing is basically done. As a side benefit I got to visit with my sisters and my dad, and attended my niece’s baby shower (much to her surprise – but seriously, I rsvp’d!)

    It really did make me happy, even though it was a very short trip.

  20. Latest mistake-inducing happy: I got it into my head that a friend’s first grandchild was due shortly before Christmas and made a Christmas quilt for the child, only to realize the birth isn’t until February. The happy: having a deadline inspired me to get back into quilting even when I didn’t feel like it, which of course inspires me to do more quilting And now the quilt a housewarming/decor gift for the expectant parents. Now I need to figure out a design for the actual baby quilt.

    In an unrelated note: there’s a big uptick in heart numbers, and I was able to add to them today, so they seem to be working again!

  21. Beach trip today!
    It’s the week before travel to Europe. 20+ hours in airplanes not counting the travel he’ll do once there. Which I am not doing, and not happy he’s doing but family so let it go. Usually the week before is wildly busy so him making time to spend a half day out with me, doing something I want, is making me smile every time I think of it. It’s raining, my kind of beach weather, and he hasn’t even wondered aloud whether it might be better to postpone.

    I’m also happy about my visit to a small waterside town scheduled for the day before he leaves. It gets so stressful with all the last minute fuss (mostly because it is at the last minute) and I’m skipping it entirely.

  22. My food mistakes made me so happy, I repeated them!

    The New York strip came two to the package, so tonight was the second one. I’m out of “French Beans,” so tonight was Delmonte cut green beans inna can (no salt added.) An Amazon order arrived, so I had all the garnishes except the salad garnish, the bacon-cheddar crisps, and I measured out double what I had last time. Even better than before.

    One more mistake. Two boxes arrived, more Amazonian orders, earlier than expected. I’ve been loving the garnishes so much, I ordered more. Specifically, Fresh Gourmet brand: crispy jalapeños, crispy onions, and crispy garlic! (And Atkins chocolate covered almonds and chocolate covered peanut candies.) I wish the crispy garlic had gotten here in time for dinner. 🙂

  23. I have mixed happiness. On the plus side my two kids and sorta foster daughter are coming for the holidays and at least so far daughters trip from London has not been cancelled due to Covid.

    On the Meh side a good friend wants to come stay with us to see our kid while she is here and another set of friends wants to spend a night here on their way to or from family and I’m feeling Covid panicky about all these people. Probably worse because I have felt mildly sick for days and while I did a home test for Covid that was negative … I’m not feeling better yet .

  24. Debbie, I have a load coming for Christmas and have divvied them up between a B&B and a local Red Roof Inn. I urge you to find a local hotel and advise your visitors to make reservations. Remember your self, your sanity, and your need to enjoy the holiday, too.

  25. My happy was that despite going to Germany over Thanksgiving and riding public transportation all over the place (people did mask up), my post-trip Covid test was negative.

  26. We decided to paint our bathroom’s ancient linoleum, because if that didn’t work, we could always move on to ripping it out, right?

    Paint store had limited choices (supply chain issues), so we grabbed antislip paint without googling it. Mistake #1.

    I applied it on the (properly primed) floor without doing a test patch. Mistake #2.

    Turns out it feels like the surface surrounding a pool–nice on the feet but really tough to clean, since we can’t just hose down the bathroom.

    We tried sanding and painting over a test patch (yes, we are teachable), which the muscles of my back declared mistake #3. Plus, the surrounding area now has grit from sanding–see “really tough to clean,” above.

    DH poked at a couple areas and thinks the lino is adhered to particleboard that’s nailed to the 100-year-old hardwood floor beneath. I’m pretty sure said floor is painted, but who knows what we’ll find.

    For now we are ignoring the whole situation, refreshing our quota of mistakes.

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