Happiness is Thunder Road

Sometimes I get so far up in my own orifices that I forget the basics of happiness. Like music. I know nothing about music, but (sorry) I know what I like. I tripped over Bruce Springsteen’s Barcelona performance of “Thunder Road,” and the sheer exuberance of the band and the crowd, coupled with how much I love that song–it’s a novel in itself and had a huge impact on my first single title–just cleared out all the tension and left my brain bright again. Listening in my bedroom isn’t quite as good as blasting it as I sail down the road with the windows open, but it’s still damn good. So even though things are rocky right now, I’m going to have faith because there’s magic in the night. (I’m not a beauty but hey, that’s all right.) And from now on I’m going to do a lot more dancing in the dark, too.

What made you happy this week?

52 thoughts on “Happiness is Thunder Road

  1. I still remember the first time I heard « the river » when I was n my teensMy uncle had good taste in music and owned a copy of the album which he had brought to my grandmother’s holiday house. I would listen to that song over and over again, trying not to scratch the record.
    It was very different from my life but I loved listening to the story.

    1. LN, I discovered that album in my teens, too, and then I finally “got” the hype about Springsteen, as his later 80s stuff was not my favorite music.

  2. The sun came out and it hit 60 yesterday. Today is only going to be in the low 30’s, and there was a thunderstorm last night and temps into the 20’s overnight, but I woke up and the sun was out TWO DAYS IN A ROW. (Can you tell we’ve had a very gloomy winter here in upstate NY?) It’s amazing the difference sunshine can make to your mood.

    A good friend moved to NC eight years ago, and finally moved back last week. He came over briefly for tea last Sunday, but tonight he’s coming for movie night and bringing Thai food with him (all our Chinese restaurants use MSG, so I can’t eat that, alas). I have been feeling very isolated, because all my friends have been busy with their own overwhelming stuff, so it is nice to have one more person to add to the “rare social moment” list.

    Plus I took a load of crap to the dump yesterday. Always good.

  3. I got out and weeded yesterday while it was still nice and before the wicked wind storm hit. It felt good, but today muscles I haven’t used all winter are protesting. Oh well. Now on to the chores that I put off yesterday. My sister is coming for Easter and I need to clean.

  4. Great Week. Read 5 chapters of a terrific story called Rocky Start.
    Reached 338 days straight of learning French on Duolingo.
    Finished training sessions at new gym so can start going whenever I want.
    Hit new weight low. And instantly gained, of course. Wine will do that.
    A stranger called the police after she saw someone hit my car; the insurance adjuster has looked at it and I’m going to get money for the repair. Strangers are amazing!
    My forest plan is all signed off on. I’m starting the next step of eradicating 7 acres of bittersweet. Well, finding someone to do the eradicating for me.
    Visited my daughter and grand cat. Daughter is making new friends.
    Gave friend a ride whom I haven’t seen in ages. Wonderful to reconnect.

  5. My first Springsteen concert was in 1984. It was the first concert. I went to by myself, and I was hooked. His exuberance in concert is unparalleled. His songwriting is more than a plus..

  6. My last day at my super stressful job was Friday. I’m so happy because I won’t be working at that job anymore.

    All change is stressful, even good change, but this has been the least stressful change I’ve ever experienced because the job itself was making me so unwell. I’d start hyperventilating every Monday morning. I’d read these happiness posts and realize how much my job was preventing me from any kind of substantive joy.

    I’m so happy right now. I’d forgotten how this felt.

    Jenny, I hope all the stresses you are coping with resolve soon.

  7. I too read five chapters of Rocky Start. Great collaboration. Absolutely hooked. Happiness galore.

    Sun almost every day. Grass cut. Railings going up. Very, very happy.

  8. Last weekend the grandchildren came to visit. The oldest came from NH to stay for a few days to see her father and us. My son went and picked up the two youngest and we had a really good time. While we were discussing the grandog I mentioned that I can see her ribs which is strange because she is fed twice a day with plenty of snacks in between. That’s when the oldest piped in with “those aren’t ribs Nana they’re rolls”. Very funny! And she is the one who brought some kind of nasty smelling jerky for the grandog to snack on plus plastic Easter eggs which she taught the dog how to open them to get to hidden treats.
    Now that it is April, I’m expecting it to warm up any minute.

  9. Yesterday was a very happy day for me. I treated myself to a calligraphy workshop in Bath to learn copperplate and had lunch with two very dear friends and then went to the Holburne museum with one of them.

    I am very happy living in Devon but Bath where I spent 14 years and where two of my children were born will always hold a special place in my heart.

  10. Every time a Springsteen song comes on the car radio, I crank it up. I first saw him during the “Born in the USA” tour – the guy I was seeing won tickets. I’ve seen him 3x since and this fall will be #5.

    I volunteer for an organization that helps women with job preparation, including clothing. I helped set up for their quarterly sale this weekend and also for the pre-sale. Lots of pretty clothes, shoes and purses. I had fun helping people find clothes/outfits.

    We still have lots of snow and it snowed twice this week. However, I found a couple of snowdrops in a bare area and some tiny purple flowers under the cedar hedge. Gardening season is getting closer!

  11. am late to the rocky start party and my happy is the bad guy (I’m assuming) is a smirking smirker and she hates smirkers. I laughed out loud. Can his beady eyes be green? And can he wink inappropriately? And then get a horrible comeuppance? I’d be so happy.

    Also this week, every day I got up, made lunches, and got my kids to school on time and frankly that feels like an achievement. Go me. (yes, that’s Wednesdays post, I’m late with everything else in my life right now, why not this too).

    1. PS comeuppance is an excellent word

      Also, Born in the USA was the first album I ever owned on vinyl, Dire Straits Brothers in Arms first cassette sand I still listen to both. (We ain’t discuss the third and fourth, Belinda Carlisle and New Kids on the Block). My kids will never be able to answer that ‘first album’ question – generation Spotify. But their first ever proper concert will always be The Killers. And in full circle, Brandon Flowers does a pretty good cover of Romeo and Juliet.

  12. I’m have tickets for the Bruce Springsteen concert in November – so excited! His autobiography is beautifully written by the way. And speaking of books, what makes me happy is that my (world’s oldest) book circle is meeting today.

  13. I had cataract surgery on my right eye on Monday and tomorrow I get the left eye done. I am hopeful my vision will improve and perhaps, perhaps! I won’t need the glasses I’ve worn since 4th grade. But even just reading glasses would be exciting.
    Yesterday made me happy in a whole different way. I raise service dog puppies, and over the years have raised and met some amazing dogs. But yesterday I met a dog that is something else entirely. His handler works at a school for children who are medically fragile with special needs. I had heard that “G” was amazing with the kids, learning things beyond the 40 commands he already knew. I thought it was amazing that he’d learned to spell his name. His person says she doesn’t really “teach” him anything, so much as just show him, and he’s like (shrug), got it. For example, she wanted him to learn the months and numbers 1-31 to help the kids learn the same thing. She showed him the numbers in order (yellow on black, she says he seems to see that combination best) and then told him “Find 12” or whatever and he would. Same with the months. And letters.
    Then she said offhandedly, “We’re working on homonyms now.” My friend and I burst out laughing in disbelief, and she said, “No, really. I’ll tell him, G, two choices, There and Their. Spell There.” And he will spell one or the other.” 🤯
    She asked him what he wanted one day and he spelled out treat.
    She says she wants to make an Instagram page for him this summer. I can’t wait to see videos.

    1. Congratulations on successful cataract surgery! Wow! Only a week between surgeries? I hope you get the results you desire.

      That dog is like the one in Lessons in Chemistry!! Amazing! I thought that was a fantasy. My granddog knows when my yellow truck arrives at her house. She meets me at the door. That seems to be one of the colors they see well.


    I became a second-hand Springsteen Fan from exposure to Frank Downey, a writer from Massachusetts. Frank loves music, especially Beatles, Beach Boys, and Bruce, the “Three Bs” of his music pantheon. He was a prolific writer for a time, before he started working as a teacher and felt the need to not be associated with “adult literature” lest he endanger his job. https://www.goodreads.com/series/165495-dance-of-a-lifetime Frank started writing as “Don Lockwood.” Regrettably, he never finished his last story.

  15. I had a very good audition this week. Still waiting to hear on confirmation about getting in, but it was sooooooo good to reunite with some people, meet some new people, and had a very good time. Also, work was quiet for the week.

    1. Rocky Start = happy.

      Got my hair cut & died it blue = happy.

      I love Bruce but She Hangs Brightly by Mazzy Star was making me happy this week especially the song Give You My Loving.

      This is my Friday = happy!

    2. I got in! I’m a bridesmaid this time! The dramatic one who gets in a fight with her boyfriend and is also the wedding singer!

      I note this is only because I was the second youngest woman who auditioned and I don’t think we’re gonna end up with ANY other bridesdmaids or the nun again, but still! That’s very cool!

  16. General happies plus feta omelets for lunch, chocolate to follow and the cats hanging out near me more. I swear they will turn back into cuddlers by the time they hit middle age.

  17. I’m delighted that the first of my fruit trees is covered in flowers (https://www.instagram.com/p/CqislfVMhXl/) – which of course means I should get my first harvest this year. It’s a plum, and I think there are flowerbuds on the damson, too. Got my fingers crossed for the other three – a cherry and two apples. The greenhouse is also making me happy – the tape seems to be working, and I’ve sown lots of things in it.

    Had a friend to stay last week, which was lovely. Looking forward to some gardening days this week.

  18. Cold and windy. At least there’s lots of renewable energy being produced. And thinking of the the windmills on the mountain ridge as big kinetic sculptures makes me happy.

    Reading Rocky Start makes me happy.

    Baking dog treats for Pixie makes me happy. That’s all I’ve done this week to be happy, bake treats for the dog on rainy days and throw the frisbee for her on nice ones.

  19. We are going to see Springsteen in, I think November, when he comes to Edmonton.

    I went to the orchid show on Friday. I overloaded myself with chores and stops to make so it wasn’t as much of a fun, relaxing day as it could have been. Next year. I did buy a plant, it’s not your typical orchid but a little bit odd and unusual. It caught my attention and was within my (self-imposed) budget.

    We have to take down two large birch trees in the front yard and I’m investigating fruit trees to replace them. Very fun.

  20. I was mopey all week (no real reason, nothing to worry about, just mopey because I could be, I guess), especially yesterday, and then today I went to help a friend with stuff I’m good at and she’s emphatically bad at (not bragging, just a fact, and she’s good at MANY things I’m bad at), and now I feel so much happier. Especially because we made progress on four different sub-projects, so there’s light at the end of a very long and deep and shadowy tunnel. Baby steps, but it’s progress.

    1. thunder road was in tell me lies, right?

      never got into bruce springsteen, but i did love the tunnel of love album, which came out right before he and first wife divorced

      very happy reading chapters 1-5

      1. Tunnel of Love is a great album. I listened to it a lot while on my travels so long ago, it’s good when you’re looking out a train window.

  21. My best friend alerted me to a link on our library system website to various interviews with authors, done by a library consortium that serves multiple library systems. She mentioned that they have an interview with Bonnie Garmus (Lessons in Chemistry author).

    I’ve just finished watching that interview, and it’s first of all the best interview with an author that I’ve ever heard. Plus the book is just about the best one I’ve read in the past decade, so it was just a great experience.

    The author doesn’t limit her responses to topics specifically on the book — she also talks about her writing habits, her editing decisions and how hard it was sometimes to take out something that you really loved, and her viewpoint on women’s fiction, women in society both then and now, and the intelligence level of dogs.

    Here’s the link to that interview: https://libraryc.org/mcpl/27728

  22. A friend came over and we watched one of his favorite “no one ever heard of this” movies. It’s called Game Night and stars Justin Bateman and Rachel McAdams and was literally one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. Like, snort your drink out your nose, funny. If anyone needs cheering up, I highly recommend it. Full of twists and turns and some of the best lines ever.

    This movie is my new happy.

    1. I’m enjoying having DH home after a month. (Although it would be nicer if he was over the bad cold that makes him cough constantly—not Covid.)

      My DD threw a birthday party for my DS his last night in England before he returned to the US and it made me realize how happy it makes me that they like and enjoy each other. They are six years apart so that’s not a given.

      My HS best friend and her daughter visited for two days. We went walking in a local neighborhood where the streets are lined with Japanese cherries in full bloom and you see white blossoms for blocks and blocks . It’s where DC residents go for cherry blossoms.

      I found a new source (a farmers market) for unusual radishes and mushrooms after my old source was sold and the new owner doesn’t carry them. I am optimistic I will be able to get ramps and scapes in season. We decided next Sunday we will go earlier and buy brunch (probably crepes) there.

      My tulips are coming up, my giant snowdrops are in full bloom, and so are many of my daffodils.

      I needed these happies because we are also trying to help a long time close friend of DH (DH was his best man 30 years afo) who has been diagnosed with moderate dementia at only 64. He is living in England, (all his family are in the US), divorcing his wife, and only one of his three kids is talking to him. Fortunately his sister and nephew realized what was happening when they saw him at Christmas, and DH connected with the nephew on this trip, so now he has something of a support network. But it’s really depressing. And scary —if he goes out and gets lost no one will realize he’s missing for days and days because he lives alone.

      1. Get them to contact Age UK or local Dementia Support groups, Age UK has a befriending service in which a volunteer checks up on you if you live alone

  23. I saw Springsteen on Monday. Such an exuberant concert. We were all so happy to be back. I’m not sure how many times I’ve seen him, but I think this was the happiest I’ve seen the entire crowd. We were behind the stage and it didn’t look like many people sat down at all. We were supposed to have 400-level seats, but somehow my friend asking for directions turned into us getting 100-level seats. It was a good night!

    My favorite song is Atlantic City, but Badlands is right up there. And Thunder Road. And… so many songs I love. I’m not usually a Springsteen cover fan, but Aimee Mann and Michael Penn did an amazing cover of Reason to Believe on a Nebraska tribute album. I might actually like it more than the original.

    Off to read Rocky Start 1-5!

  24. My big happiness is that today was the start of a two week trip. We’re going on retreat then catching up with friends in that area. And we’re doing the 1100km round trip in my new electric car so it’s guilt free. Not stress free – we only just made it to our first destination – but guilt free is great.

    But probably the thing that’s brought me the most happiness this week came from a blog post by Ilona Andrews. She posted about the God of Falling Short, the voice that tells you you haven’t accomplished enough. She said she’s accomplished heaps

    “…yet somehow, there is still this weird insecurity about not having done more. I don’t even know what that more is.”

    I can so relate. And then she said the counter-God is the God of Small Happiness. And I spent the whole very stressful week noticing the God of Small Happiness. I think I’ve found my new deity.

    May the God of Small Happiness bless you this week!

  25. Had two really rewarding concerts this weekend, the chorus was “on” and really watched our excellent conductor. I had a juicy solo, too demanding for anyone else to sing it (frankly) but easy for me, so I got my moment. Our audience was with us, and it was a great afternoon.
    Had an old friend for dinner to see my visiting sister, and it was great evening. Left over key lime pie!
    Now it’s making me happy that it’s done, and I can do things like get my oil changed, clean out the flower beds, and catch up.

  26. My struggle to order paint (the perfect paint)(with all the perfect tools) resolved beautifully.
    I kept giving myself deadlines (tomorrow! for sure, no matter what!) And missing them as my need to know (brush or roller, bristles come in different types?) kept growing faster than my answers. Did you know that one of the best paints for covering stains and scent calls for a respirator with filters good for organic vapour?

    And then one of my (dozens) open tabs showed a two for one sale on all interior paint. I bought six tins and saved 90 pounds on the next cheapest place. Delivered tomorrow.

    And aldi had brushes.

    I still need… well, a bunch of things but the heaviest, most expensive and complex is decided. I am so relieved.

    1. I was showing my blog to the dotter, and it came up that she didn’t know about the pictures, so lemme run a little tutorial. If you hover the mouse over a picture, there is usually a diagonal up/down arrow to let you know a larger view is available. Click that, and the screen goes to a larger picture. The pictures on my blog then have another diagonal up/down for full screen. Click the “X” (not the one to close the browser), and the screen returns to the blog post. OR, while you have the picture enlarged, right click and choose “open in new tab” and you might get an even larger pic that might have a “+” or “-” cursor that will enlarge beyond screen boundaries. You can almost read the book titles on the spines of my very few hardcovers.

      A lot of that works on other people’s blogs and instagram feeds and the like. Did anyone learn something new?

  27. This comment is sort of Thursday-ish, but a reference to wombats in an article about “Animals We Know Too Little About” made me go back to a book I bought for one of my nieces years ago — ‘Diary of a Wombat’ by Jackie French. Just reading it again made me happy — happier even than on Thursdays. It’s a wonderful picture book if you ever run across it at a used bookstore.

    1. My library has it. I looked for it when someone mentioned it somewhere. I loved it! Thanks for reminding me.

  28. my happy last week was going to see the cherry blossoms in DC with a friend, lunch from a food truck near the edge of the tidal basin, the crowd wasn’t bad because it was the middle of the week and everyone had a holiday sort of spirit. Roamed around the American history museum for a bit, then finished up with drinks in the lobby of the former Post Office, now Waldorf Astoria. It was A Really Good Day.

    This week saw the start of construction on my new patio and I’m very excited about how it’s turning out and looking forward to long lazy days enjoying it.

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