Happiness is the Little Things

I have had a miserable week, so I came to write this post and almost wrote “Happiness is an illusion,” which would not be good. And then I remembered why we started doing these posts, way back on ReFab, it was to celebrate the small things that got lost in the trauma of big things, to force us to remember, no matter how fleeting, those moments where everything fell into place, even if it all fell out again in the next moment. So I started to mine the past week for moments. And I got . . .

• Mona falling asleep on my foot because she wanted to be close.

• Krissie and I discussing ice cube trays.

• Bob making me laugh in e-mail

• Talking to Mollie on the phone about a bank code, only for a minute, but I got to hear her voice.

• Realizing we were half done with the first draft of the new book.

• My agent telling me I was a brilliant writer in a phone call.

I mean, there’s more than that, and those were fleeting moments, but in those moments I was happy. I’m happy remembering them now. And I’ll be happy again, things will work out, everything will be fine, but still, I have to remember to dwell in those moments, savor them, not let them go by and miss how warm they make me feel. I am a very lucky woman because I have moments like these. And that makes me happy, too.

What made you happy this week?

101 thoughts on “Happiness is the Little Things

  1. Sorry you’re having a hard time. Do hope things get better soon.

    I’m sure I had a moment of real joy the other day that I thought I must share here, but it’s vanished. It might have been finishing the main edit of my gardening research & ideas – getting that sorted feels great, although every time the end is in sight I remember another vital source I want to incorporate. Even though it’s taking ages, I’m playing with ideas for my gardens as I do it, so it’s making me happy.

    Had great conversations with new people at our monthly artists’ social on Friday. And my pal Pam rang last night to say she’s back from her Christmas month in Cornwall, so we’re having a film night (supper + a movie) tonight.

  2. I am happy this week for several reasons.

    — I am in Australia!!! For 3 months!! the first half of which I am taking care of flying fox youngsters in northern Queensland, something I have wanted to do for a long time. Then DH is coming down in mid-Feb and we are taking a rental car and wandering down the eastern coast of Australia to Melbourne, heading back home to Germany at the end of March. BIG happy.

    — I got an invite to be a plenary speaker at an international conference that I attended for years and years, so I am working on an abstract for the talk which will be in June in the US. (Why they waited until I was retired to ask me, I don’t know, but better late than never!)

    — Another conference which I chaired and co-chaired for several years has asked me back to be part of the organizing committee again for 2024. Which will be fun, because a couple of excellent friends will also be on the committee and I see a great reunion on the horizon (yippee!).

    — I got to play with a baby tree kangaroo, had an adult tree too ride around on my shoulder, and have seen all sorts of other cool and exotic critters down here, with more to go!

    1. Welcome!

      Just a few points –

      1. Wear sunblock. 50+ – we don’t kid around here.
      2. If you like fashion, when you’re in Melbourne go and see the Alexander McQueen exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria (which is also a world-class gallery)
      3. The Gold Coast is awful, but most of the rest of the Queensland coast is fabulous
      4. If you have the time, spend a few days in Canberra. Australians love to criticise it, but I’ve lived there and it’s a hidden gem.
      5. Consider taking the Great Alpine Way from Wangaratta through to Gippsland – the scenery is incredible, there’s lots of food and accommodation options, and you end up about a couple of hours east of Melbourne.
      6. When you’re in Melbourne, you might like to take a trip to Mt Dandenong, and be surrounded by the tallest flowering plants in the world (Mountain Ash trees). It’s only an hour east of the city. If you’re lucky, you may see (and hear) a lyrebird.

      Have fun!

      1. Thanks for the tips! I will pass along to hubby who is doing the heavy lifting on planning. If I recall correctly, Canberra is on the list of stops… I also think we are heading more inland rather than down the Gold Coast. We have about a week planned for Melbourne, so, again, appreciate the tip!

        (FWIW, I wear SPF-50 basically daily instead of regular face cream, as I inherited my mother’s red-headed complexion and she had issues with skin-cancer. I don’t muck around either!)

  3. I think I realized after reading here how much the moments mean. They can get us through the hours. I’ve had a rough and busy week, but not an unhappy one. I hope your next one is better.

  4. I hope this upcoming week is better for you, Jenny. One plus of recognizing a good moment is that it can close the door on the recent bad ones. Now you can restart after the good one.

  5. Two friends – who don’t know each other – have both offered to help me pack. One has already spent several hours packing. That’s not a little thing, that’s huge.
    That’s my happy this week 🙂

  6. I had a pretty miserable week too, Jenny, so you have my sympathy. (Not that you wouldn’t have anyway.)

    One of my happy moments was a lovely email from a reader who said that she is part of a mystery reading group where they take turns picking the book for the month. It was her turn, and she gave them my first cozy, Furbidden Fatality, and told me that even the die-hard suspense and crime folks liked it. And also that she was an introvert, so leading the group was tough, but my book made it easier. So that was lovely.

    Most of my happiness was really gratitude. Gratitude that after a couple of counseling sessions that raised old trauma without doing much of anything to resolve it, I had a fabulous acupuncturist and hypnotherapist who were able to help process some of it. And so kind.

    Gratitude that despite virtually nonstop gray and dreary days, most of the precipitation we did get came down as rain instead of our usual snow.

    And of course, the usual happiness provided by cats, chocolate, and Argh. (Even if I didn’t comment much because I was struggling.)

  7. I’m sorry you had a rough week and I hope this coming week is better. I appreciate your reminder that it’s important to recall the positive moments even when during tough times.

    Big happy was a lovely evening out with close friends. They introduced us to a seafood restaurant that was excellent. The company and conversation was even better.

    We got about 12 inches of snow this week. Very mild and dry January so far and the new snow means the cross country ski trail near my house is open. I got out for several longer walks last week but anxious to get out on my skis.

    I have 3 amaryllis in bloom right now and my azalea has some flowers too. Flowers always make me happy. The increased light reminds me that gardening season is coming.

  8. We all know that you are a brilliant writer, but how lovely to hear it from someone else! Sorry you had a bad week.

    I’m struggling a bit, maybe seasonal disorder, being sick, etc, but it’s feeling like burnout at the day job. Lots of drama with two coworkers. I’m not necessarily in the drama, I just have to stand beside it every day. So I am trying to get my mojo back. I took a break from the making of things over the holidays and the longer you are away, the harder it is to get back in.

    My happy thing is three days off in a row! Thank you MLK. For a lot more, of course, but I spent yesterday running errands and stress organization. Today we are going to visit my aunt and go out for lunch, and I still have tomorrow wide open.

  9. I’m sorry to hear that, Jenny – and Deborah and Lupe – everyone who is having s bad week.

    What made me happy was going to see Avatar Way of Water last night. In IMAX 3D. I think we were the only people in the theatre in masks. Outside of the film festival, I’ve been out to very few movies in the last few years, maybe two? So this was a real treat. And James Cameron, say what you will about him, but he is at the top of his craft.

  10. I hope this coming week is better!

    We had friends over for my husband’s birthday dinner (ordered in some very delicious Indian), played a few good games of Uno Flip with the kids, and the house got a bit more decluttered.

  11. A big happiness for me was finding out yesterday that Bedford Audubon (where I’m a board member and native garden director) got a huge (for us) grant to redo the front native garden, which I’ve been trying to do for the last ten years. Money enough both for plants and labor, because we just don’t have enough volunteers. We lost an enormous, hundred-year-old sugar maple in a storm in ‘20, which completely changed the look and light of the garden, so I get to redesign, and actually plant, the educational garden of my dreams.

    The fact that I’m also planning my daughter’s wedding for May may complicate things a bit.

  12. Was going to say I was sending light to everyone who had a bad week, but then thought “we all deserve it” so sending light to all.

    I had a quite productive week, including doing something creative with DS that will be very valuable down the line.

    Reading the Thursday post (which I generally don’t get to until Sunday) made me remember doing a summer reading challenge through the library years ago. Each state was assigned a category (mystery, biography, romance, fantasy, science, etc.) and you were encouraged to take a “reading road trip”. They gave you a map with the categories, which I believe you could write on to record your progress. Of course, you could hop around if you wanted, but it was a very clever idea. I read all 50 states, which stretched me into things I don’t generally read (Ms. All fiction All the time here) and it was fun. I would probably never do it again, but remembering it gave me a recollective glow.

    Started annual very-strict-diet to cure the over-indulgences of last year. Starting number was higher than I expected, but good progress in the first week is always cheering.

  13. I’m with Lupe as far as getting a compliment while you’re working. I had a boss who we all thought of as a pill, really hard to get along with. One day at work she put a note on my desk, a thank you note for a job well done. She really didn’t have to, but I enjoyed the boost.

    This week my happy is that my husband went for a dye test to determine if he had any blockage that needed hospitalization, and they couldn’t find any. The cardiologist told him to continue doing what he is doing and he will see him in two months. Not a great happy but a good happy.

    Also, this week I ran into a work friend (we retired about the same time) and she filled me in on people that we worked with. I have to say though I have forgotten some of their names and had to go along with what she was saying until I finally pictured them in my mind. That goes with the territory anyway, out of sight out of mind. Work drama is so behind me!

  14. I had one big thing and a wonderful little thing. A reader messaged me asking if I had a box set in print. I told her no, but the books were all on Kindle. She replied she had all my books on Kindle but she wanted print copies so she could keep them on her bookshelf and see them as these are her favorite books. Wow!
    That’s the little thing. For the big one, I’ve struggled with several chronic illnesses for 30 years, getting worse as the time goes on. My anxiety and panic attacks were the worst part. I just figured out I react to microcrystalline cellulose which is a filler in meds, both otc and prescription. Plus it’s in diet foods, breading on foods and powdered anything. My anxiety is nearly gone and I can deal with the fatigue and pain. I feel like me again.

    1. Glad you found out about the cellulose. I’m allergic to it too. For me, it probably is wood pulp-based because I am also allergic to paper. It’s a nightmare to navigate, so I wish you lots of luck. Animal-based gel caps are our friends, as are compounding pharmacies.

    2. My mother was so allergic to corn that the tiny tiny amount of cornstarch in some pills would cause her days-long headaches. So glad you discovered this. Allergies can be so sneaky!

  15. I did something scary this week and didn’t chicken out of my self-imposed commitment to do it, and that made me happy. Anxious too, but mostly happy that I did it.

  16. I started refinishing the next set of windows for the sunroom! The shellac coat went on perfectly, always tricky and always a big plus for the whole job if I don’t have to redo it. With any luck the job will be finished in another week and the plywood can be removed and the windows reinstalled and I will have my view back.

  17. One of the things in my life that always makes me happy is knowing that Jenny has created this great place to read about life moments of other readers. Including Aussies and Kiwis, Canadians (one of the glories of North America!) and Brits, and those folks who are either now or earlier from places in Europe that I love — where else could I find people like that — and who like the books I do? No place!! My endless gratitude to Jenny for this place.

    Meanwhile, there’s this cardinal outside my window that is apparently having an ongoing battle with the damn rival cardinal behind the glass that is COPYING his every MOVE, darn it! Every few seconds there’s a pecking noise at the glass… and I go out every so often to wave this fool off, but he starts over again as soon as I’m inside. So I’m playing a bird-disruptingly loud YouTube video of Classic Rock Hits 60s 70s & 80s, and right now the hit playing is “I’m gonna be… (500 miles)” by the Proclaimers, which I love better than almost any other song. So thank you, damn cardinal!

    1. When we lived in the woods in south Georgia, we had a cardinal who did that exact same thing. He’d perch on the thermometer mounted outside our kitchen window and just obsessively attack his reflection for hours. We were like, WTF, bird. 😉

      1. You’re very welcome. 🙂 I remember being at a conference in Toronto years ago. I walked for three blocks behind a young woman who had been eating an ice cream bar. She was holding the wrapper in her hand for that whole distance, and I watched her wait at a light to cross the street in order to put the trash into a trash can, then come back across the street and continue on her way. Emblematic, to me, of the politeness and consideration of public good that I kept seeing Canadians display.

        There are some exceptions, though. I was not a fan of the trucker convoys who blocked public streets last year because they didn’t want covid vaccinations. A Canadian I know commented to me “Alberta is our Alabama,” which seemed to explain them, sort of.

        But the rest of you guys? Kudos to you all. 🙂

    2. Us too, a few years ago! Although it may have been some other red bird, not a cardinal. On the dot at 0600, attacking his reflection. We hung a gauze curtain on the OUTSIDE of the window, and he flew away. In case you don’t want to blast the Proclaimers then.

      We also hang some reflective tape on the balcony that flutters like a prayer flag, but the wind likes to rip it away.

  18. Happy this past week was …

    unloading about 100 cases to one of my newer-to-the-group counterparts (and she is happy to finally have a docket of her own);

    passing my smog test (emissions control measure in California);

    cracking up the room on my group’s Zoom happy hour. It was hosted by a teambuilding company that sent everyone cocktail kits, most of which included some kind of bitters. Well, as we were discussing the mixology, someone said ‘so, what actually are bitters?’ someone else said ‘yeah, what is a bitter?’ and I said ‘a woman over fifty.’

    Mic drop. 🙂

  19. Walked around the park, even the rain didn’t dissuade me to head home. The raindrops on the umbrella were comforting. Nephew-in-law is coming this afternoon to advise on the balcony railings. Very happy. He even said he would help with installation. He is a good man. Very thankful.

  20. I’ve been very slowly (and mostly unsuccessfully) trying to de-clutter my home for 6 months. Today, I discovered that there is actually a thing called a clutter image rating scale, which can be used to diagnose people with serious hoarding disorders. It ranks clutter on a scale of 1-9. Astonishingly, I am somewhere between a 1 and 2, which means my clutter levels are remarkably normal. (The higher ends of the scale are pretty scary.) Just looking at the scale makes me feel organised and virtuous, and so now I will sit and knit and not worry about the mess.

    1. I am also decluttering, Kelly. Starting with the spare room, aka the Room of Shame, because that’s where I chuck everything. I’m throwing out so much stuff and the room already looks better. It’s so satisfying, isn’t it.

    2. Seriously, where does one find this? I think we are ok but on the one hand I am seriously concerned about my brother in law and his permanent fiancé and on the other hand my sister is flipping out about my mom and I think she’s on the low end of the scale so seeing this could be really helpful.

  21. Have there been little happies this week? I’m pretty sure there have. But you’ve probably heard something like, “When life closes a door, God opens a window.” This week, it’s freezing outside, so every voice in the house yells, “Shut that &%#$&% window!”

    So. No heat. There’s a short circuit in the furnace. Even when the furnace breaker is off, there’s still some sort of electrical problem that takes out the lights. I suspect it’s in the multiple switching for various light that can be turned on and off from three or four places. There will be electricians in the house tomorrow.

    The dotter has built a cozy fire in the fireplace. The dotter and kinder are eating large amounts of takeout. In the dark. I have contributed my flashlight collection. We have internet, thanks to a pair of extension cords from the second floor.

    Life goes on.

    1. A tiny happy: Grocery stores happily sell you plastic bowls of Caeser Salad or Chef Salad or Southwest Salad. Usually for about six ‘Mercun dollars each. Each has maybe a half ounce of chicken or ham or something, and a little bit of salad dressing, Ranch or Caeser or something. Grocery stores also sell Bag-O’-Salad. Just lettuce, with maybe some carrot or cabbage or radicchio for about two bucks. The prepared salads run around 800 mg of sodium, give or take 100 mg. The Bag-O’-Salad runs around 60 mg sodium. Even after I add a five ounce can of chicken (Wild no salt added chicken), I only double or triple that. Also, I make my own dressing with chili oil and red wine vinegar and spices. I’ve eaten six or seven of the prepared salads so far in January. Laziness strikes! But I just had a Bag-O’-Salad with chicken and croutons that was healthier, more filling, and way, way cheaper. That’s the way I’m going from now on. A tiny happy for the win.

          1. Great recommendations. I’m stuck at home for the next month so your salad suggestions will help with my desperately needed weight loss plan.

          2. Maggie, good luck with your “desperately needed weight loss plan.” I’d prefer to grow my own lettuce, but that isn’t in the cards this month. According to my Walmart Purchase History, those ready-made salads were only $3.49 each. The chicken was $4.99, the bag-o’-salad $1.98. The real issue for me was twice the salad with half the sodium. I probably didn’t save a dime.

      1. The Status of the Apparatus:

        I contacted my agent. Jessica of the Hogan Group. She arrived today with electricians in tow. They practically rewired the furnace controls. There had been previous “repairs” in an amateurish fashion which they a) pointed out and 2) professionally set right what once went wrong. They also examined the line feed from the street, the input and output of the meter, and the breaker box.

        They identified Dominion Electric’s meter as the (current) culprit, reducing 120 volts of phase B to 105 volts, which is insufficient to operate the devices on that circuit. Stove, water heater, dryer, and most critically, the furnace. I notified Dom-El, they immediately dispatched a tech, the tech installed a new meter, and voila! Lights, action, camera, and heat!

        The meter base needs to be replaced. Dom-El (a cousin of Jor-El, I’m sure) provides the base for free, but it is my responsibility to hire an electrician to install it.

        The original electrical contractor from Michael & Sons said we had “knob and tube” wiring, and it would all need to be replaced. The competent electricians that accompanied my agent found no trace of knobs nor tubes. No electrician would go on record saying that Michael & Sons were lying, cheating weasels and scam artists trying to wring the last dollar from ignorant clients (like me) while implying same. I own up to the ignorance. I studied for years, decades in fact, to achieve my level of incompetence. Ergo, per the Peter Principle, I have been promoted to homeowner.

        How did we get M&S? They came up first in the dotter’s Google search. She plans to complain at them until they refund their $69 fee for looking at the problem(s).

        Long story no shorter, the dryer dries, the heater heats, the stove is stows, and the pistons… they work too. The lights no longer flicker and go out. The Home Moanership is reduced to a slow draining deep sink into which the washing machine drains.

        1. That is one great agent. (This is not the first time I have heard bad things about M and S.) You might want to check if there is a community list serve where you can get recommendations for competent service providers. Ours is extremely helpful.

        2. How old is the house? Knob and Tube wiring has not been installed in since the 1930’s (in most places). And most homes that old have been rewired.

          1. The house dates to 1950. So do I (well, 1951). The dotter is by turns relieved, stressed, livid, and ecstatic. She loves this house, with its smooth ceilings, plaster and brick. She is worried that while the heat was out, she might have lost some of her favorite plants, but we never dropped below the mid-50s (teens, Celcius), so there’s hope.

            For my part, I’ve started a six-pack of Salad Greens in a garden, now that we have the power to do so. I hope to be able to make a February Farm Report.

  22. I finally bought a teapot for my niece’s birthday after spending weeks dithering about which one I should buy. It probably isn’t as high quality as the one I had been originally planning to buy, but it was considerably cheaper and, unlike the ones I saw on ebay, I didn’t have to worry about it breaking in transit. I know that these things are successfully shipped every day, but I can’t help remembering the Delft platter that my sister shipped to my brother after our parents died that arrived in pieces with tire tracks on the box. Besides being happy about the end of my procrastination about choosing this gift,it also gives me an excuse to call Emmy and discuss how she wants this delivered. Talking to Emmy, however briefly, always brightens my day.

      1. The nicest part is that I just filled the new pot to the brim and found that it doesn’t drip when you try to pour. Emmy has a beautiful large pot that drips when full, which is why she requested one for her birthday.

    1. I know I’ve told this story before but many years ago I brought my MIL back a teapot from England. When she passed, I got the teapot back and to my surprise inside on the bottom was a layer of dried four-leaf clovers.

  23. Good things this week: I made brownies, and I wrote a short story using pencil and paper. Shared it with a critique partner (more of a “let’s write stories from prompts and share them” partner) via Zoom. Writing on paper was fun & surprisingly productive.

    I hope everyone has a good week ahead. It’s a hard time of year. Xoxo Shelley

  24. My doing the lights for a show is going smoothly after one night of hell. I think the kinks have been worked out, thank goodness. Also we had a blackout last week and so far the power’s been on, so yay for that.

    I am going to do an audition today at a snooty theater that will probably not let me in. I don’t really care on that score (I don’t love the theater and I’m not in love with the show, I just like the show they’re doing now better than the one my theater is doing next), I’m just doing it for practice. Looking forward to the experience but have no expectations. I have two other auditions for shows I like even better in subsequent months anyway and the third one will probably let me in, so it should all work out.

  25. My birthday was yesterday. A year and nine months ago my husband suddenly, inexplicably passed away.

    I just realized yesterday that I’m going to be all right. I was mad at him for leaving me here while he went on to heaven to have big fun without me.

    Now I can breathe and I have decided to live. Hooray.

    1. Oh gosh, that’s so frustrating! The suddenness & lack of explanation of the death must have been so very hard for you. But I’m glad that you feel as if you’ve passed the worst of it and opted for life. Hope your birthday was happy — and best wishes sent your way for all the days after it!

      1. Nan, Congratulations on seeing that you will be all right.

        Congratulations, too, on your birthday!

        And, thanks for sharing your story.

  26. Last night my neighbour brought me soup. For absolutely no reason other than that she had made plenty and thought I’d like some. Such a small thing, but so nice.

  27. Two happy things: a special exhibit and workshop at my local art museum, which a former colleague put together, and a friend giving me contact info for three possible editing-work sources. Tomorrow I will begin applying. And a small, practical happy–the car finally got an oil change and tires rotated.

  28. I echo the love and appreciation for the argh community and Jenny who created and nurtures it.

    I also really like Instagram which takes less time than Facebook and is not full of posts that annoy me. It makes me think a little differently also.

    I have just created a pinterest board for a short story / flash fiction piece which I am planning on starting entitled Cringe. I will be writing my version of what I have come to think of as a persuasion piece taught me by a fellow writer from Pinellas Writers which is my Zoom critique group.

    My critique writing group is my happy place but lately there is drama that is making it less happy. The latest drama is a fellow writer who is making passive agressive remarks with disapproval dripping from her voice. So much so that I considered censuring what I’m going to read next meeting. I had a text thread with another member of the group about this subject. He advised me to lower the volume when she is speaking. I have been laughing ever since and am going to take his advice.

    Several times this week I have experienced moments where I am aware and appreciative of the priviliges in my life.

  29. My baby turns 32 today! He’s doing well, living in Hawaii, working as an RN, finishing his Masters. It makes me happy to think back on bright spots from my two sons’s childhood. And his brother and I will do brunch and shopping tomorrow, looking forward to it!

  30. I went to the doctor last week with the expectation that I was going to get a lecture about my blood sugar due to Christmas. But it was actually better than my last check. I seem be doing well with intermittent fasting and doing a little diet control. But not much.

    So that was a happy.

    Also, I’ve been taking 911 calls a few months now and some nights I get the strangest calls, and sometimes calls that make me so grateful for my family and my health. My ability to still work and support myself.

    I’ve been feeling sorry for myself because I feel like I’m ready to have a companion in my life (other than my girlfriends) and it seems impossible to meet someone. Dating sites aren’t working for me and it seems like this is me and my dogs for the rest of my life. But last night I took a call from a 94-year-old blind woman who was living in a run-down hotel by herself. She was screaming at me that I didn’t care what happened to her, but I think the real problem is that there isn’t anyone else in her life to care what happens to her. I have lots of people in my life who care and who would look after me if that’s what I needed. While, yes, it might be nice to have a romantic partner in my life, I have so much to be thankful for. Plus after I got off the phone, the other dispatchers had a good laugh with me about the mean things she said to me. No mocking her, you understand, but comparing the things she said about me to who I really am. I felt good about myself that I was able to stay calm and compassionate in the face of that abuse.

  31. My big happy is my son, whose three. PhD supervisors told him they hope he stays on as a post doc when he finishes in a year and a half and that there is basically a position in a grant written for him. This is a kid who always feels like an imposter and when I ask how his research is going I get “meh” “I don’t know” and “slow”. His normal insecurity was increased when he really struggled with his first two grad program classes in his specific field. He was convinced he was at the bottom of his grad program class. He is the slow but steady kid and it’s so great to see him realize he does belong there and is respected. (I also think it would be a good post doc for him but that’s not the big deal.)

    Small happies—I’m slowly feeling better after Covid. I have planted all the bulbs. I am still amused by #receptiogate on Twitter and enjoying seeing bad guys/plagiarists being found out. My sibs and I have managed to deter my mom from three bad ideas in a week (we don’t usually work that well together. She also usually doesn’t have that many bad ideas that fast.) I’m not working tomorrow.

  32. I’m having a hard time with happiness. It’s got a lot to do with January, grey skies, no snow. I’m never great in January, and it’s hard to get anything going, so then there’s self-reproach.
    But, a flock of Canada Geese alit in our yard yesterday and walked up and down. Pooping, of course. I walked out and made them fly away, which I enjoyed. Today I wore a new dress I bought on line, what looks good and has no zippers or waist, so it’s quite forgiving.
    Here’s a connection to a selection from a choral work by the composer Christopher Tin – each section uses a text from a different language and culture, on the subject of water. This is the final movement, is called Waloyo Yamoni (We Overcome the Wind) in Luo, which is from South Sudan, Wikipedia tells me. Anyway, it fills my heart with joy, so if you need a lift, here’s 14 minutes of happiness.

    1. Thank you, Maine Betty. Such an extraordinary musical achievement in a beautiful language.

  33. Jennie, I’m with you. I’m cherishing the moments – the thought that the feral cats are fed. My crazy three-year-old grandson who feels joy in everything. He screams “the moon! the moon! the tow truck!Look at the tow truck! The fire engine! The fire engine!” and I hear all that enthusiasm And I knew I need to bring more of it to the world, to my life.
    I’m happy that I got through some revision this week. I had three auditions. Hunters finally came out season two. I’m in the first episode but I don’t recommend watching it for your happy place. For me it is too violent.
    I have to watch episode seven because my son is playing a Nazi. But I didn’t even finish the episode I was in.
    Today I feel like doing absolutely nothing. And that’s OK. I wish you all a joyful week full of beautiful small things worth cherishing.

  34. I’ve been putting off doing something I really need to do and it’s been causing me some stress. Of course, this involves ‘letting people down’ even if it’s for ‘everyone’s own good’. I’ve given myself a deadline of today to get all the paperwork done and a deadline of tomorrow morning to send everything out. I’ve made today’s deadline!

    Nothing really great happened this week but nothing really bad either.

    I hope the bad things go away and good things move in this week for everyone.

  35. Someone on a FB group was looking for m/f romance reccs. And someone else recommended you, Jenny. And a third person chimed in:

    ” I got sent her Welcome to Temptation as a random bookclub offer years and years ago (first romance with body count I ever read too) and loved it so much that it put me off reading romance for a really long time. I basically stomped off saying “well, if I can’t have this, then I’m not going to bother with any of you”

    You are a really great writer. 🙂

  36. Small happiness – finding an honest mobile mechanic who came to our house, did a grease up and oil change service, checked the engine and said everything was fine. Even the filters were clean, he said.

    Nice smiley guy too 🙂

  37. My sympathies for a rough week. My week has been full of good and bad moments and I feel a little overstimulated by them.

    The best was progress on a project that has been in the works for 6 months – getting my mother’s downstairs apartment converted from a military history museum and armory into a guest suite. We finally got the military stuff out and a new bed and couch in! Much celebration ensued. There was dancing.

    And a long petting session with my old dog which we both quite enjoyed. He has dementia, so often it is hard to get him to relax and get a massage, so this was wonderful.

    And birds moved into some bird houses I put up a few weeks ago in my yard!!! Spring is going to be fun.

    And unexpected snow. I woke up to a white world that I hadn’t known was coming and it was beautiful. Of course then I remembered that I needed firewood and to put on the generator. But it sure was scenic while I was out there freezing my tush off.

  38. After reading all the great comments, I remembered an encounter at the grocery store that makes me smile each time I think of it. I was schlepping down the ice cream aisle when I noticed a women with two young boys in her cart coming down the aisle behind me. Out of the blue, I heard a young voice declaim with joy and awe, “ice cream is WONDERFUL.” That tickled my fancy something fierce. It has become for me an instant replay that never fails to make me smile. As Jenny said, just remembering small moments sometimes makes all the difference.

  39. I found work difficult and frustrating last week, and spent some of the evenings working on taxes and arguing with my ex. But there were lots of lovely things too. A group of friends came over for an evening and we had a great time. And I spent yesterday in Akaroa, which is a beautiful little seaside town, and went to a couple of excellent classical music concerts. So the week was mixed and I’m trying to focus on the good bits, which were great.

  40. I have my son’s wedding in April. A friends wedding Germany in 2 weeks later and we are remodeling the basement starting soon, (I’ve been dragging my feet, then he was diagnosed with prostrate cancer).
    Tuesday at 7:30pm he started feeling like crap. 8:00 I started feeling like crap. Friday morning 2 positive Covid tests. 4 vaccines a piece(worked in a Covid ICU from the beginning) and had felt pretty immortal but apparently not.

    My happy is not at a wedding or a plane, Germany, Hawaii or Georgia. Really there is no place like home.

  41. My happy is that finally forcing myself to do something that I didn’t want to do – and have been actively avoiding – meant that it’s done and it was much easier than I thought it would be!
    I wish to remember that whenever I put things off, the level of angst created is significantly higher than act of doing the thing. If I just did the thing when I need to, then it would be less effort all round!

    Other happies are:
    My father is much better after his abdominal surgery. Still struggling with being tired, but much better than a month ago when I last saw him.
    My watercolour painting continues. I can now paint a reasonably recognisable evergreen tree, so that’s useful. I am still working out how to paint leaves & petals, but they’re at least recognisable, albeit a bit wonky. I continue to lose time (aka being in the zone) which is great, and just what I need.
    I finally have a boss, after 12 months without (not as much fun as you’d think!), so I might get some clarity on my role. Finally.

  42. for, wow, a decade now, we’ve been doing this daily thing where we list 3 things we’re grateful for, think of a happy memory from the past 24 hours, and appreciate or thank somebody for something. There is always a happy moment even when you look back and go “it’s been dire for how long now?” I’m happy that this is a 3 day weekend and it’s finally stopped raining.

  43. Sending virtual hugs to all.

    I’m allergic to polyester, spandex, etc. and was dismayed when my go-to brand of all-cotton underwear changed to fabric that makes me itch. Then this week I was rooting around in my dresser, looking for things to get rid of – and way at the back of the drawer found two like-new pair. The miracle of the underwear!

    1. I panicked for a moment in case you were talking about Jockey women’s underwear, because it’s all I wear (well, under other clothes, not that I run around in nothing but underwear), for a number of reasons, including that they’re all-cotton (and the elastic is covered). I will scour leftover stock and buy it all up if they ever change from all-cotton! Highly recommend if you’re looking for a new brand. Some of their styles are non-cotton, but their really basic line is cotton (and it comes in other styles, this is just an example): https://smile.amazon.com/Jockey-Womens-Underwear-Elance-Hipster/dp/B00EWC0W3W/

  44. It’s Monday, and I’m working. But I’ll share a couple of happy moments.

    Yesterday, I went to Target. As I was getting out of my car, I heard the family who had parked nearby at the same time. The dad (and it was so typically a dad comment) said “Put on your jacket? What’s the matter with you!” It was loving exasperation at it’s finest and it made me chuckle through the store.

    On Friday night my DH noticed that the cat’s leg was swollen, so we took him to the emergency vet. It didn’t seem obviously broken, with no apparent wounds, so we took him back home with some meds. Today I took him to our regular vet office (with a relief vet for the holiday). We confirmed that there was nothing broken but the boy has basically sprained both his wrist and elbow, so he’s going to be on some powerful drugs for a while. They took him back for the xray, and afterwards, he just chilled on the tech’s lap while she typed her notes up. Meanwhile the relief vet noticed the tipped ear, and wanted to hear his story. Yep, he was a stray, but he’s our boy now. She thanked me for taking care of him, which made me feel good.

    1. I’ve got a new stray in the yard and can’t decide what to do about him, because he’s got a collar. How showed up once several weeks ago, and he wasn’t particularly interested in the food I leave for the known ferals then, so I figured he was just an indoor-outdoor cat (not wise in this area with coyotes), so I shouldn’t trap him (kidnapping someone’s cat). But this week I’ve seen him twice, and he was definitely eating today, which makes me think maybe he was dumped, collar and all, and doesn’t have a family. Pretty sure it’s a boy, so no risk of him getting pregnant (and all the females I’ve seen in the yard are TNR’d). I guess I’ll keep an eye on him for a bit to get a better idea of whether he has a home or needs to be trapped and re-homed.

          1. We once solved this problem by catching the cat and attaching a note to his collar with “Is this your cat or is he homeless? Please phone xxxx if he’s yours.” Turned out he was a wanderer and had declared half the houses on the block were his home. His owners were keen to let us know he was theirs.

          2. I will if he keeps coming around. First, I need a plan for if I trap him and he’s not chipped — what am I going to do then? It’s tricky, because it’s hard to get vet appts these days, and there aren’t any rescue groups near here. And I have issues with the local shelter, based on past bad experiences with them.

  45. I hope the misery of the week is of a temporary nature, Jenny. January and February are rough months to get through in general.
    I knew from the first little novel I read in the Love and Laughter series, Anyone But You, that here was a writer with an uncommonly witty and personable narrative voice, and a master’s touch with dialogue. That book stood out from the rest and I remembered to keep an eye out for the author’s name in future. Humour is said to be the hardest literature to get right- it requires a light, deft touch- one of those ‘you must make it look easy’ type of things. I have read about PG Wodehouse mulling over every word, looking for le mot juste, in creating his airy Jeeves and Bertie soufflés. Jane Austen defended the novels in which the liveliest effusions of wit and humour are conveyed to the world in the best-chosen language. It is not a small achievement to be able to get that right. You should pat yourself on the back until you are black and blue (well, maybe not quite that much).
    I seem to have started an essay here. I feel strongly that a talent like yours is a wonderful and rare thing and would like to thank you for many hours of enjoyment.

  46. Also I learned this week that the spikes on the tail of the Stegosaurus are called the Thagomizer after the Far Side cartoon where a caveman explains it is named after “the late Thag Simmons”.


    And there is a charming Twitter thread where the initial tweet asks how non parents feel about not being asked whether their favorite dinosaur is… and many paleontologists, museum staff, etc say they still get asked it regularly.

    (Mine is triceratops.)

  47. Experiencing extreme moods in 2023: I’ve had nose dives into misery and highs of crazy elation. Argh always cheers me up and gives me a chance to think through some of the stuff going on. So I tend towards cheery posts.

    A “Trails and Tracking” program in the Vermont woods was tons of fun. I learned about the ways different animals walk and take a shit; I also learned some tips for identifying trees from their trunks and from their branch configurations. Finding leaves on the ground helped, too.

    I’ve been sorting through boxes of old papers. Some of the stuff depresses me — my mind jumps immediately to what I did wrong.

    I’ve also been anxious about things that are coming up or that need to be planned. It should be great news that I have plenty of activities on the calendar. Instead, I worry about things going wrong. Hmm. . . time to change some habitual ways of thinking.

    Anyway, we’re off in an hour to the Bronx to visit some friends: we’re all attending L’Elisir D’Amore at the Met Opera this evening. So great! We’d had it all planned 2 years ago, but my husband hadn’t recovered enough from surgery to attend, so we canceled.

    Really great stuff ahead. And I won’t muff it up.

  48. My bright spot for the day is the day I got my brows microbladed, was the day I came down with covid. So everybody was in masks and nobody sees me until my Joan Crawford eyebrows are gone. I always think I’m healthier then the husband is. I’m not. My brain. Is so fuzzy I watched the same episode of Ted Lasso 3 times. It was fine

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