Happiness is a Good Brother

I got an e-mail from my brother this week that said, “Call me,” and it turned out he just wanted to talk. We hadn’t for awhile, so we caught up, and then I caught up with my sister-in-law and then talked some more with my brother, and we all laughed a lot. Jack confessed he’d never read one of my books. He said, “I don’t want to read my sister talking about sex.” I laughed and told him that I’d never named a hero Jack and I never would (both my brother and my dad were named Jack) for a similar reason. We talked about things that happened during our childhood and we both remembered different things that the other had no recollection of, and we laughed about that, too. I told him the new book had the tagline, “Would it kill you to go see your mother?” and he laughed hard at that, and then I told him the mother in the book collected bears and he laughed even harder (our mother was nuts for teddy bears and Christmas tree pins and also just nuts in general).

What made me really happy this week is that I love my brother and he loves me and we say it. And also he married a darling woman who’s more like my sister than my sister-in-law, and I love her, too.

What made you happy this week?

96 thoughts on “Happiness is a Good Brother

  1. Hurray for good family.

    We are on our way up to Ithaca for the semiannual Friends of the library book sale, which I love.

    In other news, the wedding went well. We got to the JP’S and he asked if we wanted to have it outside in the garden. Um, Yes! And everyone behaved and got along and I didn’t spill anything on myself. No pictures yet. My sister took them and promised to send them to me later this week. I am just so happy to have it over, no one got sick, no one fought, no major snafus.

    1. Well that is awesome! It sounds like you were blessed with good weather, always a bonus. Not to mention the not spilling anything on yourself – lol. Much future (ongoing) happiness and love to you.

    2. All my very best wishes that your life together continues with no one getting sick, no one fighting and no major snafus. Also “nothing but good times ahead”.

      1. Jessie, I like that. Instead of “through” sickness or whatever, how about “avoiding bad stuff whenever possible — together”?

    3. Congratulations! I wish you may have many more years of such happy outcomes.

  2. Hahahahahaha. If I wrote a fiction something, I’d happily not have family members read it. Like anything fiction. They don’t need more knowledge about how differently my mind works!

    I’m happy because it was my birthday on Monday. Since COVID-19 numbers are high here so I didn’t go out. Stayed home, cut a cake, ate lots of it, had authentic Darjeeling tea with it, received lots of phone calls and laughed a whole lot with the callers. Calls went over to the next two days too! And I’m so grateful for how secure I am in the love my friends and family have for me. Late calls or people who forgot or mixed up the date didn’t matter because I know they care. That counted for everything.

    I watched the 6-episode K-series The Sound of Magic and I just loved it. It hits about 6 different tropes and 3 different plotlines and never quite commits to one. I really enjoyed it because somehow everything had value! In such a short period of time they had me caring about the characters and their resolutions.

    I’m about to go do work for school. Keep sending me patience and efficiency prayers please. 42 grade 1s, I’m tearing my hair out.

    Oh, finally I’m happy because I am doing yoga again and going for Tai Chi. Tai Chi yesterday had me laughing so much that my face ached. I’m a bit sad, it means I don’t laugh enough daily to exercise those muscles. But I am happy I got the laughs in.

    1. Happy Birthday! I hope you smile and laugh so much that the muscles in your cheeks become the best developed in your body.

  3. I’ve been spending more time lately with my sister (I do have two, but I mostly don’t have contact with the other one, by choice.) When my mother-in-law passed away in January, it prompted me to reflect on my priorities, stated vs. lived, and I decided to make time with her happen.

    And because her life is complicated, I have been driving 1.5-2 hours (depending on traffic) to see her and her family every Friday night. It’s so good for all of us, and she and I have so much fun, despite the fact that mostly we’re both just taking care of her son + 2 foster kids until they go to bed, when we collapse together on the couch for a few minutes, backs against opposite armrests, legs stretched out alongside each other, sharing a blanket just like when we were kids.

    We talk for a bit while her husband looks at his phone, then I get up and drive home. But at least once a visit, we both dissolve into uncontollable laughter over something that no one else finds funny. And we sing songs that we made up when we were kids, and talk about big serious things, and then break the mood with something silly so we can start laughing again. And then I drive home.

    This Friday night, when I got home my sister-in-law had arrived at our house from California and made herself at home in the guest bedroom that she thinks of as her room. We meant to have a 5 minute hello, but it turned into an hour-long conversation in the hallway, mostly in whispers so we wouldn’t wake my sleeping husband. At one point she referred to me as his emotional support chihuahua. This is both a perfect compliment and an insult, which is exactly how she and I express our love.

    So YES to good sibling and sibling-in-law relationships!

  4. I grew up with 2.5 brothers. I idolized my older brothers, suffered the usual sibling rivalry with my half brother. Not only did he steal the “baby of the family” job description, but my step-dad was guilty of extreme favoritism. I haven’t seen any of them in years. (Next older brother passed away – cancer – after what he and everyone thought was a successful battle of radiation and chemotherapy. I kept all the emails. They all ended, “Love, Jim.” Except the last, which came from my niece, letting us know that the doctors were mistaken and it was now everywhere, and he had maybe a week to live. I miss him, still.

    Eldest brother lives on a ranch out west. We trade emails. Half-sib lives in Florida, in the house he alone inherited when step-da passed. We do not talk. I’m happy with that.

    The dotter is gone to North Carolina this weekend, visiting her brother. I am pleased with and for them both. I got lucky with my children. I hope they are best friends forever.

    Despite all the melancholy and angst dripping up above, I am happy this week. I’m on Revision K of my Cleaning and Redistribution Survival Plan. There are now mirrors – technically, they’re sold as “door mirrors” – behind all the shelves mounted to the walls. There are pictures on the blog. Naturally, this renovation encompassed the hydroponic gardening units. It’s a work in progress, and I expect more revisions.

    The room is still in chaos. It will improve when I a) recycle all the cardboard, and b) make a run to Goodwill. The light at the end of the tunnel is a growlight with tomatoes and peppers under it.

  5. Have started watching the trashiest reality show ever, Ultimatum. Couples who’ve been together a while where one person doesn’t want to get married get an ultimatum from the other person: marry or move on. This would only make for a one episode season except of course for the twist – they all agree to break up and ‘date’ other similar couples – around a pool for about two days and they can all see each other ‘dating’, then they have to decide with whom (if anyone) they want to go into a trial marriage for three weeks and live with that person. I have been shocked at how quickly these people have turned their attention to new interests. A sillier premise has never been devised. I’m addicted. If only someone would come up with a similar premise involving M/M hockey player couples it would be perfect. A girl can dream.

    1. Is it cringe-y? It seems wince worthy… But then I thought that about the dating show where they were the furry masks too.

      1. Not cringe-y, no. More like eye-rolling-y. Furry masks?? Oy. Which one was that??

  6. I’m happy this week because I quit my job to be a full time writer. Admittedly, everyone else sees it as retiring. My pension after 30 years makes it possible: I’m incredibly lucky.

  7. My three brothers are a LOT (7-10 years) younger than I am, and we’re dispersed all over the country, so we got into a pattern of only interacting by way of Christmas cards and a once-every-five-years in-person reunion. But then the pandemic prevented our last reunion, so we’ve been doing video group chats for the last couple of years every three months or so, and actually interacting more than before. Which is happy-inducing.

    Beyond that, I’ve been quilting up a storm, making little quilts (about 18″ square, for use as table centerpieces or as cat doilies, as a friend dubbed them, for putting on favorite feline lounging spots to attract fur, and then easily washed) that will be auctioned off in the next Romancing the Vote auction (in 2023, I think). I pieced … I think 7 so far this weekend, with 2 more likely to be done by the end of today, and already had 10, so I’m most of the way to my goal of 20, and may go for a stretch goal of 24 before I start the finishing work in the fall (layering/basting, quilting, & binding). It’s also a means of decluttering thirty years of scraps and orphan blocks, although at the moment, it’s making my quilting room a chaotic mess. You can see the work space here (and scroll through the account if you want to see the quiltlets): https://www.instagram.com/p/CdjIf8mujeW/

      1. Thanks. I started making them years ago, mostly for orphan blocks and the odd scraps left over when I finished a large quilt. I tend to make scrappy quilts (lots of fabrics, not technically from scraps), and I make extra blocks to give me room to play with the layout. And then the leftover blocks are always too nice to throw away, but after a while I ended up with plastic shoeboxes full of the leftover blocks, and got annoyed by the clutter, so I started making them into quiltlets. My cats love them, and they make me a tiny bit less of a slob in terms of housekeeping, because I have a lot of them and can swap them out easily.

  8. Working on the flower farm made me very happy this week. Tulips and daffodils everywhere! We got a burst of summer – several days of 30+ Celsius – welcome change from below normal temps but tulips do better in cooler weather. I was getting to the farm by 7am which meant leaving my house at 6am. I’m not an early morning person but working on my own, listening to the birds, was so peaceful and calming.

    It was my birthday this week and my youngest brother called me. He also called me on Mother’s Day. Short conversations, but nice to hear from him. DH, DS and I went out for a celebratory supper.

    Went to a local plant sale and picked up several native plants for my garden wilding project. Plus ground cherries to plant in my vegetable garden. Plants that I ordered from an online charitable plant sale arrived – I ordered unusual nasturtiums, cosmos and eggplants, among others. As soon as the rain lets up, I’m going out to play in the dirt.

  9. I’m happy to have retired from editing – although I’ve already said yes to a proof-read. My garden’s making me happy, especially sitting in the sun yesterday. And I’m happy to be taking this next week off, to focus on creative stuff.

    1. Jane, I know how you feel. I very recently began saying no to editing and writing gigs (similar to those you’ve described in the past), books mostly (history, gardening, cooking etc.). And while I miss it, I feel that the business has changed so much since I started (mid eighties), that it is no longer fun, just arduous, constantly second guessing what this writer or that managing editor might want. And being told that it didn’t matter if the text was incorrect or the style inconsistent etc.
      I hope to follow in your footsteps and find other sources of creativity.

      1. Yes; and the in-house people are so overworked that there’s hardly any communication any more; the teamwork that made it fun (and improved the books, I think) has gone.

        Good luck!

  10. I spent the week cleaning house and cooking to prepare for my SIL’s birthday dinner, which was last night. Everything was cooked at the last minute and I did not have any major mistakes where I got to talking and laughing and forgot I was cooking something that needed to turned over NOW. Crab cakes with aoili sauce, loin lamb chops marinated in mustard, garlic and fresh rosemary then grilled, raw potatoes grated and fried in roost like cakes, asparagus with herbed bread crumbs and lemon butter, followed by salad forestiere then homemade rhubarb pie. Lots of good wine, laughs and conversation. And the weather warmed up enough that we could have appetizers on the deck and enjoy the view of downtown on the horizon.

    My husband made the pie. He does perfect flaky pie crust. So good.

    1. That’s rosti not roost-like. You can’t take your eyes off auto correct for a sentence. It also gave me grief about aoili and forestiere.

        1. I don’t have a fixed recipe because I learned by watching my great aunt.

          Sauté about a 1/3 cup yellow or white onion in butter over medium to low heat. Not sweet onion because it loses too much flavor and sweetness when cooked. When the onion is just transparent, add the same amount of minced celery and sauté a few more minutes, just enough to soften the celery. Turn off the heat and stir in one finely chopped green onion and about a 1/3 cup minced parsley. Let cool.

          In a separate bowl beat an egg. Add 1/4 cup of mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon or less of Dijon mustard, salt and pepper and a light sprinkle of cayenne pepper less than a 1/4 teaspoon. Crab has a delicate flavor that too much stuff overwhelms so I don’t add the usual assortment of bell peppers, cilantro or dill. I mince a slice of bread and add that to the egg mixture. Stir in the cooked onion. Add one pound of crab meat. I buy mine from Costco because that is a lot of crab to buy and shell when you don’t have access to your own crab pot. Let this sit in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to let the mixture set up.

          I take 3 Wasa rye crackers and make cracker crumbs by rolling my rolling pin over them until they are reasonably fine crumbs. You could probably use other cracker or Panko crumbs. Put 8 rounds of crumbs, about a tablespoon each on plate or cookie sheet. Using a 1/3 cup scoop divide the crab mixture between the 8 piles of crumbs. Firmly. press the crab into the crumps. Top each cake with another spoonful of crumbs. Pat the crumbs into place. The crab mixture is too soft to make cakes and dip them in crumps without everything falling apart. Put the cakes in the refrigerator for an hour or more to help them firm up. I make mine in the morning or early afternoon. I sauté them in butter over medium to medium high heat until they are brown on each side, about 4 minutes a side. Oh, I also use a wide spatula or flipper to move them from the plate to the hot butter. Until a crust has formed to hold them together, they are very delicate.

          For the aioli I take 2 sliced garlic cloves and some kosher salt and mush them to a paste with my mortar and pestle . I add the juice and zest of half a lemon. Let it set for 5 minutes to let the zest absorb some of the flavors. Stir in mayonnaise until you reach the consistency you want. I want a sauce like thickness. I have been known to leave it fairly thick and to add minced green onion, minced parsley and one small kosher pickled that has been finely chopped to make an ersatz tartar sauce to serve with them instead.

          This recipe works just as well with a couple of cans of canned salmon to make salmon cakes, which is what I usually do, or with leftover cooked white fish to make fish cakes. My great aunt used minced clams (which she dug and canned herself) and made heavenly clam cakes.

          1. Thank you, Jessie. Next time I go to Costco, I’ll make this recipe and think of you!!!

          2. I frequently freeze the extras. Since most of this is precooked, I take them straight from the freezer and put them in the hot butter. And if you make them half the size (or smaller) they are great appetizers with a 1/2 teaspoon of sour cream on top. For cooks like me who can’t resist buying a sockeye because I got such a good price on it, it is an excellent way to prepare the left overs since 4 pounds of fish is more than we can eat at one meal. Then when I want a tasty meal without a lot of work, I make a salad and fry up several fish cakes and I am there.

  11. It has been a stressful week.

    I applied for a job in New Jersey. I don’t know if I want to live in New Jersey but I’m not sure I can stay where I am. It pays twice as much but I think alot of that will go toward COL increases.

    I had a lumpectomy this week. He said normally they would just watch it, but it was a little larger than average and I already am a cancer patient, my body doesn’t need to get any ideas.

    I finally watched the second season of Bridgerton.

    1. Jeez–major stuff! Good call on the surgery I think. Sending strong vibes that the lump and its cancer threats are completely vanquished and you have a speedy recovery.

      And as for the new job with potential move possibility I’m sure you’ll be able to figure out what’s best for you.

      Sounds like you’re in control. That, I think, should be a good feeling–may you continue to be strong!!

  12. Beautiful sunny day, yesterday, went to Hyde Park with my brother’s family, sat in the shade and watched his kids and a horde of other children ecstatically playing in the Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain aka paddle pool they loved it

  13. Happy this week was that good review I got, plus it took only 1.5 hours today to get the front yard looking Tidy & Intentional, plus weather has moderated today, thank all the gods. Last couple of days were very hot and much too dry (my breathing apparatus does not approve of humidity levels below 40%).

    In other happy news, my one remaining uncle has taken gentle nagging onboard (from me, my mother/his sister, and his son) regarding getting the hell out of his toxic, isolated situation in Alaska. He has two good options: move to Wyoming close to his son, or move to Arizona where a longtime friend has said ‘come live with me.’ This uncle is a sweet man who’s tried all his life to hold together a family that has refused to cooperate (his semi-ex-wife is such a nightmare that the son, another good man, GTFO). He’s currently in chemo, and he deserves in his remaining time to be near people who actually care. He is selling his lake house, on the way to selling the house he lives in, and – incense & chanting – soon will get Away.

  14. Got home from 6 days away, which was a nice break from normal life. Break included a fantastic B&B (https://www.thebellabedandbreakfast.com/ – we were in room 1) while assisting at a cool workshop for first responders and hanging out with DS and friend from UK. Such a great trip, but glad to be back to DH, own bed, own shower and kitties.

  15. I’m looking at tickets Boston to Paris. And back. For late September, My bestie will be there, and we’ve chatted about meeting there, so I’m looking to make it reality.

    Also, amazing New England spring, with lilacs and flowering trees and still some daffodils!

  16. My IU graduate daughter is back home. I wonder how long we will be a family of four again until the son and the daughter leave the nest permanently. I’m sure it isn’t long.

  17. I am happy about the existence of penicillin (2nd bout of tonsillitis for DS this year, but within 24 hours of magic medicine he is pretty much back to his normal self – to my relief)

    I’m happy that my neighbours’ driveway will be finished soon, maybe even tomorrow. It’s looking great, and the guys doing it are friendly, but I’ll be happy when I don’t have to worry about smacking into a tipper when I go in and out of my driveway (it’s a “snug” design…)

    I’m happy that we’re due to get some sunshine later this week, which means I’m planning to play in my garden.

  18. My brother and I have a great relationship. He moved points north to Brisbane (I’m in Melbourne) 22 years ago, but we’ve kept our relationship up though his various relationships, one ongoing divorce with a toxic ex, 2 children with her; and then one child, twins, and twins on the way again with his new (lovely) partner. Yes, somehow my brother will have 7 children. He’s also got our 86 year old mother living with them. Not sure how he and his partner does it. I do call him supersperm though, and I’m planning on giving him a gift certificate for a vasectomy!

    I’m fairly baffled by his and his partner’s desire to have so many children, but to be fair, I don’t think they were expecting twins this time. But why consider having even one more once you have 3! Bafflement.

    He and I have our disagreements, as you do, but we still call one another every fortnight or so to chat, during his drive to/from work, and I visit as much as I can. I’m just happy that he’s found a lovely partner to share is life with after the wringer that his ex put him through.

    My other happy is that working with a psychologist on solving some of my ongoing issues is really turning my life around. I started with the thought that things that had happened in the past were stopping me from having the life that I want. Turns out, it’s me that’s stopping me. Who knew. Two simple changes to how I think, and slowly I’m changing how I live and what I see for my future. Changing how I think hasn’t been easy, and it’s an ongoing discussion with myself, but the outcomes are really good, so I continue on working on it. And I continue to see improvements.

    1. That is so good, Philby. The hardest thing in the world for me is to not let my past life hold my future hostage. Sending positive vibes your way.

  19. I ordered mirror tiles (two sizes) from Amazon. They arrived today, and I’ve been putting them on the wall according to Plan. (Revision L, that is.) Want to know an irony? I purchased colored cellophane in multiple colours for light abatement from the grow-lights. The mirror tiles (which are not mirrors, exactly, just extremely reflective) come with peel-off paper on the sticky side and a coloured protective film on the shiny side. What color is the film? Bleu. The perfect shade of blue for light abatement.

    Sacre Bleu!

  20. I got to play golf this morning with a good friend I hadn’t seen since last year. It was a beautiful day, we had a lot of fun, and even the golf wasn’t that bad. His new hip is working well for him.

  21. Nice sunny day. i spent part of it outside planting tomatoes, peppers and herbs. There’s lots of flowers that have to go in pots. I’m saving them for the coming week.

    I’ll do a few at a time because my state’s primary is Tuesday and I’ll be counting write in votes for the next 2 weeks. Planting them will lift my spirits.

  22. Happiness is having this group still be around to read when other things seem so bleak, happiness in the fact I have two sisters who survived our crazy childhood with me and we can joke about it today and most recently this week is the new puppy in our household who is a complete joy, the two old guys are not quite charmed yet.

  23. I have 2 brothers. One is my best friend. The other screwed me out of my inheritance so later for him.
    My best friend brother and I talk at least twice a week on the phone. We laugh a lot and bitch a lot. He definitely adds to my happiness.
    I have been struggling lately. Finally coming out of that funk makes me happy.
    The arghink community entertains me and makes me happy.

  24. Gosh, you guys have such great family stories! Including the tough ones, because you survived and are surviving them. Admiration!

    Me, my big accomplishment this weekend was to buy a plastic kitchen drawer organizer thingy and then to clean existing drawer organizer thing, AND drawer itself, AND then to scrutinize everything in the drawer without the eyes of pity, which led to putting aside a big pile for Thrift donation. And now we have a gorgeous kitchen drawer, with everything we like in it and nothing we don’t, and it all has a place of its own. Such a tiny thing, but it’s something we use multiple times a day, and each time a moment of happiness.

    Also, a lovely frog in our pond, and we have some dynamite photos of it to send to friends. Frogs rule!

    1. That reminds me of last week when I cleaned out the small sewing chest when I was searching for my one crochet hook. The dog greeted us at the door after we were gone for only an hour and a half with joy and abandon. When she jumped on me she pulled a piece of yarn from my sweater. Not to worry I knew just where the crochet hook was. Well it wasn’t there. So I decided to clean the cabinet out in search of it. Grabbed a bag and started tossing. I mean who needs shoulder pads from the eighties and early nineties. Toss. Buttons in the little packages, I took them out of the packages and put them in a little tin because you always need a button. Keep. About a hundred drapery hooks. Toss. I mostly use toppers now. Embroidery floss, keep, the colors are so pretty. Made chain of all the remaining safety pins. And sew it went.

  25. A house finch has made a nest on top of our porch light. Sometimes it flies to a nearby tree but mostly it ignores our comings and goings. Sometimes it’s mate comes and sings from the tree. I find myself going to check on it several times a day.

  26. I spent much of the weekend gardening trying to get my annuals in. Last fall DH expanded the three bigger beds in the front yard by laying down a brick edging several feet further into the yard. So in order to plant first I have to get about 2 feet of grass border out.
    I got the three little beds ( each about 2×3 feet) planted and spent most of the weekend working on one of the bigger ( maybe 10 ft circle?) and it’s still not done. The second bed has roses that will bloom soon and a patch of lavender and a fig and a crepe myrtle. I got nasturtium seeds in so I just need to weed behind them for a 10’ foot strip that I will seed with zinnias.
    But the third bed is a mess. It has a large fig and roses and a lilac and some
    Lilies and day lilies but it’s also got maybe 50’sq foot of grass and overgrown violets and wild strawberries that I have to get out without damaging the lilies. I think it may be a 3 day job all by itself. Then I’m putting in snap dragons and zinnias and … then I will have to see what it needs.
    Meanwhile I have lots of other things I should be doing but am not, but the garden will make me happy into November so it’s worth it .

  27. My cousin Bill found and scanned a photo of my with my brother — I’m looking serious as I give him his bottle, and he’s looking cheerful!

    I told Bill I remember when it was taken — our mother had taken us to a professional photographer for passport photos, and Bob got restless — Mother handed me his bottle, the photographer got the shot! Mother had that picture on the bedroom wall for many years, but I don’t know where the framed print is now.

  28. I went to a new friend’s low-key birthday party, and we all ended up spending six hours on her Manhattan roof as the sun set telling stories and making each other laugh. It was pretty much a perfect day.

  29. Happiness is sewing a pair of curtains for the duplex kitchen window, will put up tomorrow. Lovely new tenant helped put up the bathroom curtain. Getting little jobs done, one side is really taken care of with tenants. Other side is great then good then nightmare and back to good series of tenants. I’m just done with being a long distance owner after almost three years of travel restrictions.

    Sun barely goes a down, about three in the morning it gets darker but not night dark. The ice broke up on the MacKenzie river last night. A bit anticlimactic. I was hoping for great chunks of ice crashing onto shore line. Still could happen, lots of ice still to move. As the river starts to flow, it pushes up the ice and makes ice mountains on the shore. Then the ice starts “calving” like Alaska glacier but on a mini scale. There are frogs in a pond outside my window. It’s midnight and they are still croaking. May need to stay an extra day.

    My two brothers and I have a great relationship. One older and one younger. We have each other’s back. Eldest sister too. Elder brother has dementia, starting two years ago. It is heartbreaking.

    Happy birthdays, congratulations and get wells, always click the hearts.

  30. Jenny, that is such a cute photo of you and your baby brother! And congrats to Lupe and Lupe’s husband!

    I’m happy that a semi feral cat I help take care of is okay now after getting dive bombed by Mockingbirds. The owner of the property where she lives told me there are videos on YouTube of Mockingbirds dive bombing cats and humans.

    And I watched an amazing movie about courtesans in Venice based on a true story: Dangerous Beauty.

  31. After 2.5 years (Thank you COVID) we are finally back in Western Tanzania. We’ve been here for the last one and a half weeks and I have to admit to being semi-comatose due to jet-lag for most of it. Today is our last full day in Kasulu. Tomorrow we go to Kigoma on the Lake Tanganyka to visit with some old friends who have retired from their ministries in here in the high lands.

    There have been many changes here. Except for one very small section (that will be a rotary for a road that will go AROUND Kasulu) all of the road between Kigoma and Kasulu is now paved. The bridge that goes directly from the center of town up to the area where the NGOs and the Diocesan compound are is out while it is being replaced. Due to COVID, most of the non-Tanzanians’ that worked at the surrounding NGOs are no longer in the country, but it is good to see old friends, worship in a church where we understand one word in twenty and smell the smells of rural Tanzania that have become so familiar over the years. (And, oh! The Pineapple!)

    Of course, this is rural Africa so we’ve had a number of evenings where the power goes out (we are lucky: the compound has a diesel generator, so we are not without lights) and several days without water in our hostel due to the water line being broken when they cut down a huge tree.

    On Wednesday we will travel from Kigoma back to Dar es Salaam and then on to Kenya for another week.

    In other news, our daughter moved to Texas and there has been progress being made on the house that is being built for them! (Crazy real-estate market made it impossible to find an already-built house.)

  32. My biggest happy this week was getting a call from my nephew-in law. I left him a message on Mother’s Day because I was worried that he might be struggling and he called me back on his way to work. I had just ordered a t-shirt for him and was worried about mailing it to him when he reminded me that they will be coming to town next month for my sister and BIL’s 50th wedding anniversary. Since it is not for 6 weeks or so, I had forgotten about it, but now I can look forward to seeing them in person. And it is a good reminder that I want to talk to my sister about letting me help with the party prep.

  33. Happiness was a long visit to all my California people (elderly parents, younger sister, daughter and her fiance and his parents, one of my best friends/critique partners) after not being able to see them for three years due to Covid. Much good food was consumed, much laughter happened, there was a belated celebration of my birthday, and actual on-the-day-of celebration of my book release day, board game afternoon, and much time spent on the beach. SO MUCH HAPPY.

    You know, except for the flying across country, which was pretty miserable and I’m still trying to recover. But it was worth it. I even got to see the middle sister (who lives an hour and 15 minutes from me, but is too busy/doesn’t really care to see me) and her husband who I adore, as I was going through town to go to the airport, also for the first time in 3 years. Since the brother in-law was recently diagnosed with cancer, and is being tortured with treatments, I was especially pleased to be able to see him for a bit. My former housemate drove me and stayed for lunch at Panera, and the two of them hit it off because she is a cancer survivor and they are both artists. So that was a bonus happy.

    Now I’m just trying to catch up on All the Things. A nap would make me happy around now.

  34. effinbirds.com Go there and laugh. You will find a swearing bird shirt for every occasion.

    I’ve been (bitching and whining and complaining) suffering from a dry cough that has been keeping me up at night (might as well, I’m up with Hannah anyway) but last night they both conspired to let me sleep from 11-4. That’s 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Five hours! Buckley’s Nighttime Cold and Cough pills seemed to help so I’m to the drug store for more today. Nope, not the syrup, I’m not that desperate yet.

    The snow is almost all gone in the front yard and I can actually get to all of my Christmas decorations so I will take them down and put up my spring and summer wreath. Getting Christmas put away by Victoria Day is always my goal. Oy.

  35. The weather is just lovely today, which is making me happy. I spent a glorious weekend with friends and got to see my favorite band in concert in my hometown. Nothing screams over 40 like being in bed by 11 pm instead of driving 3 hours home. Overall, I’m sort of riding the buzz of sunshine, great music, and wonderful rest. 🙂

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