Happiness is a Garage Door That Closes

For most of the past week or so, my garage door has been open, flashing the neighborhood the chaos of the unloaded pod Stuff because some of it was blocking the door. This week, I cleared out the space under the door and closed it. It’s not as good as clearing out the chaos–I’m doing that little by little–but at least now it’s my chaos and not the neighborhood’s. It’s the little things that edge us toward happiness.

What little thing made you happy this week?

96 thoughts on “Happiness is a Garage Door That Closes

  1. I have absolutely no interest in football, but the England team making it to the final of the World Cup, achieving what no men’s team has been able to do for decades, was a little thing that made me happy.

    And the dog. Except she’s not a little thing, she’s a 33kg lunk of love and black fur. She always makes me happy. There is an Instagram meme where the answer is always Dog, and for me, this is true. Navigating the worst is always made better when I think Dog.

  2. Happiness is a replacement / working ac unit in my front room (in Florida).

    It is groceries bought and put away.

    It’s finally getting the haircut I’ve been putting off & finding a new stylist I like.

    And if I ever get the laundry done – that will be bliss.

    Also it’s Only Murder In the Building & Justified City Primeval & Lost Flowers of Alice Hart. And youtube videos of the Azerbaijani couple Country Life Vlog – so soothing.

    1. A good hair stylist is worth her weight in the precious metal of her choice.

      And we have been watching Justified as well, and went back to watch past seasons, which I hadn’t seen. Very good writing there.

      I’m glad you are liking Only Murders. We will probably watch that next.

  3. I moved at the beginning of July, got my stuff out of storage three weeks later and have been living surrounded by bins ever since. Two days ago, I started sorting through the yarn bins. I rediscovered all the beautiful yarns that I’d forgotten about. I’ll finish the sorting today —- and 1) I’ll be able to see my walls and floors, 2) I’ll know where all my different yarns are and 3) I’m excited about starting (yet another) knitting project — that’s no easy task in Florida in August! Feeling so much more settled and grounded is grand!

    1. I just started knitting again after a little break. Just a comfort shawl to donate to hospice or a women’s shelter, but I’m hoping to get some socks patterns.

  4. I still have boxes in the garage from my move – 9 years ago. I guess I don’t need those things, but I know one box is my collection of pitchers. I just didn’t have a place to put them when my mom’s stuff showed up. So, what I really need to do is get my mom’s stuff sorted so I can get my stuff back. Motivation eludes me. I’d rather pro-craft-inate.

    As for happy, I chatted with my sisters this week. They live near each other, and I’m a 24 hour drive away. It makes me happy when we connect.

    1. I wish my procraftination had the beautiful results yours does! And I LOVE that word!!!!!

  5. My sister-in-law is visiting from BC so we went to Barbie all dressed in pink – that made me happy. My husband was a scrooge and refused to dress in pink. He wears a hat with pink skulls on it during the winter so I know it’s not about the pink. He doesn’t want to wear it on demand.

    Turns out her favourite show is Jury Duty, which features on this blog, and so she asked us to watch it and I did just to see Susan – so much fun! I laughed my head off.

    Flying to Cincinnati today for a three-day meeting. Tor 11 years at the beginning of my career I worked at P&G which is headquartered in Cinci so have spent far too much time there but am planning some great dinners with old friends.

  6. Little things that are making me happy include:

    1. Garden stuff. My jalapeño plants are fruiting. I have over a dozen so far. I’ve only ever gotten a couple from a Smart Garden, so Yay! My bell pepper plant is fruiting. At least six so far. It isn’t a sweet red pepper plant nor a sweet yellow pepper plant, just green bell peppers. They’re green now – how do I know when they’re ripe? I’ll figure it out. Some of my Romaine lettuce is ready for harvest. Also arugula and green chard. 🙂

    2. Basement humidity is under 45% everywhere. No condensation on the vent ducts, which is a Good Thing. The basement is mostly about 75°F, which is without AC, just dehumidifiers. 🙂

    3. After my visit with my cardiologist, we went shopping. There’s a Publix right around the corner. I spent way too much on prepared foods. Ukrops Light Chicken Salad, Ukrops grilled chicken and pasta salad, Ukrops Low Fat Broccoli and Pasta Salad, Ukrops this, Ukrops that. Dotter wants me to cook chicken and pasta and make my own salads, and okay, that would save 80% of the cost. Meh. Ukrops makes me happy. 🙂

    1. Green peppers are essentially ripe from the minute they set, so you can pick them whenever you run out of patience. Mostly they just keep getting bigger (up to a point), and after that they turn a color. Most peppers will turn red (or yellow) if left long enough. But anywhere between setting and starting to turn red and soften, they’re perfectly edible.

      Home-grown green peppers make me happy. One year I had something like 30 Ace pepper plants (variety that grows well in New England), and not one was eaten by critters, and the weather was perfect, and I picked peppers by the hundreds. Happy, happy, happy.

      1. Thanks, Gin! I foresee a Cornish Game Hen salad with green peppers and pasta in my not-to-distant future. I’ll need to finish the Ukrops and thaw the hen. 🙂

      2. This year my four pepper plants, all of twelve inches high, have yielded five peppers. There are two more now, the size of a thimble and of a doll’s teacup. Not a good year.

        1. My last farm report (Mid-August) has pictures of most everything, especially the AeroGarden Bell Peppers. Even so, the pictures are at least a week old and everything is bigger. The AeroGarden Golden Harvest Tomato has sprouted in Faith, one of the new Lyko 12-pod units.

          Harvey, one of the four AeroGarden Harvest units, is suffering an outbreak of Green Slime. I threw away its unsprouted lettuce seed pods and dosed the unit with peroxide. Later I’ll wash it in a weak solution of chlorine bleach, rinse it thoroughly, and recommission it with new seed pods. I’m expecting an order from AeroGarden: Six jalapeño seed pods plus a Custom Salad Seed Pod Kit: Arugula x 3, Bok Choi x 1, Mixed Kale x 1, Mustard x 1, Romaine x 3, Swiss Chard x 3. I don’t have an ETA on these, but Harvey will wait patiently. He and I have little choice. (That’s a fib! I have seeds and empty sponges and sponge baskets. It’s just that I want one each of the custom salads.)

    2. Try reminding yourself that when you make it at home, you can make it exactly the way you like it. Buy yourself a new cookbook and take a culinary vacation. That’s what my Mom did while my parents were sending 5 kids to college.

  7. Had my friend Jenny to stay for a few days and we went to see a house that she really liked and so made an offer on. I’ve got my fingers crossed. It’s just round the corner from me, so I’d have a lot more company – which would be good, as long as we can get the balance right.

    I managed – after various technical hitches – to email the other local volunteers for the lost rights of way project, who’ve been left hanging for months or years. Had a couple of replies immediately, which made me happy. Hoping to get some good, mutually supportive connections going.

    And I’ve just managed to paint my allotment shed with preservative, a job that’s been on my conscience for nearly six months.

  8. I worked 3 days at the flower farm which always makes me happy. Lots of deadheading (favourite task) and weeding (less favourite). Both are both very satisfying when you finish.

    Bought DH a lovely bouquet from the farm to celebrate a big work milestone. I get a weekly bouquet plus a few flowers on the days I work, so we’ve got multiple vases filled with flowers around the house.

    My niece in San Diego assures me her neighbourhood isn’t in the direct path of Hurricane Hilary. A friend who lives near Kelowna BC is still in her house despite the wildfires. I’m crossing my fingers that both of them remain safe.

    DS told me last night that he’s depressed. On the one hand I’m worried about him but on the other, encouraged by the fact that he told me and is willing to see his doctor and get counselling.

    1. I’m in San Diego, too! So far Hilary isn’t being too aggressive. What’s weird is the humidity which I haven’t felt since living in Maine. This morning the air smelled full of sage.

    2. How wonderful to work on a flower farm! And then to be able to enjoy them at home, too. Your son is in my thoughts. What a brave fighter he is to have admitted his feelings to you.

  9. I’m starting to eat fresh veggies out of my garden, which I love. Last week it was corn (smallish, but good, what I got before the chipmunks did) and tomatoes. More tomatoes this week, with basil (Caprese salads are big at my house right now), and edamame, aka soybeans. They’re so delicious, and easy to grow, I don’t know why more people don’t do it. I’ve been wanting to cut down on my meat consumption (I’m not a vegetarian, but I try to only have meat a few times a month), so having a plate full of fresh veggies is wonderful. Mind you, I do see some BLTs in my future…

    Every year I say I’m going to have a smaller garden, but this is the season when I’m happy I ignored myself again.

    Happiness is also making progress on the current book, and getting a box full of my author copies of the one that is coming out officially on September 8th. I say officially, because someone said on the Internets when I posted a video of the unboxing that she had just gotten her copy. So apparently Llewellyn in sending them out to folks who preordered. Huzzah!

    1. I have enough cherry tomatoes for a salad every day, and my lettuce under the grow light has regrown. I love fresh veggies, too. Good for you, that your best self went ahead and planted those veggies!

  10. I built an additional tall bookcase (from a kit, but still!) without help from daughter or son-in-law. I’m not the handiest person around and decided that yes, I COULD do this.

    I have a smaller bookcase to build, because I needed the taller one in place before this one would fit, so that’s a goal to tackle.

    Lots of taller and heavier books (think art/anime, science fiction, etc.) need to be sorted to go on the bottom shelves from the previous bookcase I moved out of the way and the remaining books – I really have to stop ordering books! – taken out of boxes and put up. I have a pile of four paper boxes waiting for said sorting. I love the size of boxes that reams of paper come in! It’s large, but I’m able to handle it.

    I put together the small pool for my granddaughter (age 7) who will be spending some of the coming week with me since camp is over and school starts on August 28th. Grandson (age 5) is still in daycare, so I won’t have both at once.

    I created labels for the shelves in our local library for our bi-monthly booksale so every looks uniform. If you’re in the Bethlehem, PA area on September 20th and 23, stop in and check us out!

    And, as all good job resumes say, “other duties as required”.

    1. Oh, I forgot to say that I renewed my library card! It will be nice to order online and pick up books.

  11. I did laundry, and hung my bamboo hankies out. They dried fast in the heat. I finished mowing the lawn, with the height knob all the way to the top. It will need it again, soon, but at least it’s done. We are now in a heat dome with an Excessive Heat Warning through Thursday. My little black cat can’t read, so she lies in the sun at the front door, anyway, hoping for a belly rub.

    I’ve watched the movie version of Persuasion twice, now. The one with Amanda Root, as recommended by Jane B. I am now halfway through the book, and Lupe was spot on that I wouldn’t like anyone in the book, at first. That family! It’s easier reading when I’ve seen the people in their environs. I like the movie.

    I am gradually weaning the birds off birdseed. There are way too many sparrows, and the squirrels are also proliferating. The Elderberry tree is loaded with berries, but they are ignoring them. They ate all the Golden Currants, earlier. There are also seedheads on the wild Bergamot(Bee Balm) and the Echinaceas. I will still have finch seed out, peanuts for the woodpeckers and flickers, and Hummingbird food. Maybe in late winter, I will resume the sunflower, cracked corn, and millet mix for them. Sunflower seed is astronomical, now!

      1. Thanks, Debbie. I read something similar. I do think in late winter and early spring, they will need supplemental food, but that’s better than feeding them year, round.

      1. Thanks! I will look for it. I gave up on If Found Return to Hell. There is something really nice going on there, but the first person present tense kept kicking me out.

    1. I love it. The colors are delicious, and love the way the middle fits together.

  12. One small pleasure this week has been watching the BBC Pride and Prejudice series with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle with my mum.

    When I go to see her, I always try to find something to watch together which I know she will enjoy.

    I hadn’t watched it for ages and I worried it wouldn’t have aged well but it was as enjoyable to watch as the first time round.

    All those longing glances … yum!

    1. That version of Pride and Prejudice is practically timeless, my favourite, also reason my friends made me go to Bath twice.

    2. I must have watched that too many times, because the whiny mother and the foolish sisters just grate on my nerves. The holier than thou sister does, too. I skip over those parts. I do like Colin Firth, who almost didn’t take the roll, because he claims to be a “character actor” and not a main character/romantic interest. Jennifer Ehle is also excellent, and was unknown to me before that series.

      1. I did find Mrs Bennet unbelievably grating indeed. It’s the voice, I think.

        I do understand her plight though: 5 daughters to marry without money and the prospect of being booted out by Mr Collins. Not great really.

  13. My wallet was missing when I reached for it to pay for my groceries yesterday. I went and looked in the car but no. Went back in and asked them to hold the groceries for me in their cooler, realized I had wallet in the car after getting gas so searched the store, went back out and looked under car, re-searched car, and there it magically was , standing upright next to the seat, where I swear I had looked before. Happy is the woman who has her wallet. And her groceries.

    And I popped in the pet store since I was next door to it, and they had a 24 can box of my cats’ favorite style food, which is hard to find, so the universe was looking out for me. And apparent I needed it!

  14. Happiness was spending the week with my 5 month old grandson who lives in Tennessee. I live in Bucks County, PA.
    Also, I helped my nephew organize his new house in Philadelphia. I’m OCG, Obsessive Compulsive Gifted ~ queen of organizing everything. There were whispers that you might live nearby. You have my email in your records, let me know if you would like quiet, compulsive help. (Born this way)

    1. Currently looking at book/hoarder situation in my bedroom and that’s just the library books, shame I live in another country

  15. I garage-flash the neighbors fairly regularly by accident. The across alley neighbour came to my door once and tiredly requested me to close it.

    I am happy that my dad has been able to fly back from Toronto after a day’s flight delay- I will go hang out this aft and watch some Blue Jays.

    I am happy about criminal charges on fraudulent thugs. Throw everything at ‘em and something will stick!

  16. I went down to the gate to get my newspaper and found nothing. I called the circulation line and discovered that instead of the call center in the Phillipines, I now got an automated service that didn’t even repeat back my complete address. I wasn’t very hopeful, but I just went down to the gate to pick it up. This is the first time in almost a year that the process worked.

    My mother told me that when I got older the hair on my legs would grow more slowly and I would have to shave less often. So far, this has only applied to my underarms, but today I decided that I can put off shaving another day. It’s a little thing, but I am enjoying it.

    What I didn’t enjoy is that when I read the fine print on the list of what my Medicare part D plan paid last month they listed one medicine as a 50 day supply instead of the 30 day supply it is. That means that they are going to cut me off before the year ends. And since they lied to me last week when I called them about a different drug, I am pretty sure I will be SOL in a month or 2.

    1. Oh, no!! Call them and argue with them. Hey, I rarely shave my legs, because I hardly ever wear dresses, and I don’t wear shorts in public, except my own yard. I wear pants everywhere. I doubt anybody I would care about is looking at my legs, anyway. LOL

    2. I agree — if you care about the drug, call and tell them about the mistake! It ought to be simple enough to argue what’s essentially a typo, as compared to the more nebulous rejections for not being medically necessary.

      1. I think I will go to the pharmacy and get a copy of the dosing instructions before I call them again. After last week’s run in about a different drug I was so depressed that I didn’t leave my apartment for 2 days. The part that makes this even more frustrating is that this is a nasal inhaler that comes in metered doses. Why would they package it in a 50 day supply when 30 days is the standard insurance coverage?
        Medical care by accountant is becoming more prevalent, much to my distress.

  17. Last night we went to my (ex) aunt’s 80th birthday party. She is a champion ballroom dancer and we got to watch her and her partner dance. She also obviously passed on her love of dance to her kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews, step kids….. In addition to being a champion dancer she was one of six women in a medical school class of more than 100, the 33rd board certified pediatric endocrinologist in the US, and a doctor at Children’s Medical in LA for 50 years serving underserved populations. And one of the sweetest people I know. It was a great time. (And I didn’t have to run the party!)

    We also bought some food and an extra back up phone battery because we are staying in a hotel within Hilary range and are reasonably convinced that southern Californians have no idea what is about to hit them. We live in the greater DC area where power outages and flash floods are a regular thing and have had people rescued from their cars around the corner from us. It’s not a happy but it will be interesting to watch.

    Also happy this week—the three parties all went well, including 59 people for brunch at our house Sunday. We judged most food quantities right and didn’t run out or have too many left overs. The house was full of flowers from the wedding all week and they were gorgeous. My son’s toast about books will make me smile every time I think about it. We took my daughter’s in-laws sightseeing, which was fun, and we really like them, which is more important.

    And now we have a week of vacation in Santa Barbara. Which may be wet.

    1. Don’t float away, Debbie. I have a friend in Apple Valley, and I wonder how it will go, there. They are at the top of a pass, but there are mountains all around that could funnel water down to them, too.

      1. Did you know a river runs underground in Apple Valley most of the way–thus the dry bed–with a little bit above? With a strong flow of water, the river rises above ground in its entirety. Every now and then, that’s a problem when the desert gets mucho rain. Sitting here at the beach in very Southern California, we’ve had off-and-on rain, nothing intense, and an occasional burst of wind. I do not know if we’ve had storm surge, but I do know the low crossing to Dog Park is flooded. Unless things pick up, not the dire event we’d been promised. I hope your friend in the desert is spared.

        1. Thanks. I lived in Tucson for 17 years, and they have dry river beds that swell into actual rivers during the Monsoons, too.

      2. Thanks! We are in Santa Barbara county and while there seems to have been flooding in Montecito it’s gone now

  18. Sweet peas have bloomed. Next year will plant more. Tomatoes, ever bearing strawberries, cucumbers, so delicious. Flavour explosion in our mouths.

    Kiddos are coming for dinner tonight, will hear all about their vacation. All very happy making.

    Niece evacuated from Yellowknife wildfire. Friends evacuated from Shuswap area. H cousin evacuated from West Kelowna. Fingers crossed.

    1. I feel so bad for the people evacuated from the NWT. At least when we were evacuated, we were only an hour and a half from home.

  19. Happiness would have been Against All Oddities as the title of the first Rocky Start book. But. No.

    But I’m going through what will now be called Excellent Oddities and it’s pretty good. More like Agnes and the Hitman than the Liz Danger books. We argued about pub date for it next year.

    I took the entire back seat out of my Gladiator. Lots more room for the dogs and stuff when I hit the road.

    1. Let it go Bob. Even with your army training, you can’t beat Jenny!

      Happiness is watching my neighbour’s puppy run around the green and boss the bigger dogs.

    2. I can’t wait for Oddities. Judging by the first few chapters, it will be beyond good. Just keep the collaborations coming.

  20. The kiddo and I are getting over Covid. I am missing five days of work which is brutal, but this hit me for a loop. Honestly, I am thankful we are at the tail end.

    Kid is singing to himself in his room as we speak, and I am slowly crawling out from under a mountain of laundry that needs sorting. Glad to be out of the woods.

    Hope all goes well with the pod. I have a similar issue with my closet. I had planned to tackle it this weekend, and then… the plague hit. Hoping to sort it later today. Anyway, all the best!

  21. My happy for this week-my daughter just messaged me and said she got her storage unit empty! And her washer and dryer connected. Now just to put everything up.

    Also making me happy-a new book from Jenny and Bob! Yay!!

    Jenny/Bob-when will Rest In Pink be released in paperback? I have Lavender, and need a set on my shelf. 😉📚

    1. Tomorrow. Rest in Pink goes live tomorrow in digital and both paper formats. And thank you for asking.

  22. I went to the San Diego Union Times Festival of Books yesterday, and not only were there a ton of booklovers and writers around for great vibes, they also had a Dunkin’ Donuts truck. Now this might not seem like a big deal, but there aren’t that many Dunkin’s around here and none in my neighborhood, so I was happy to have a taste of New England (Maine/Boston is Dunks all the way) yesterday. Also Susanna Hoffs of the Bangles spoke and signed her book.

  23. I’m happy that we got our air conditioning repaired in time for the heat wave that started today. And that our house painting is finally going to get done, it’s needed it for several years, but I’m pitying the guys outside scraping the old paint off.

    I’m also happy that when we had our first local fencing competition of the new season yesterday that a bunch of our kids competed and did pretty well, even the ones who had just turned 13, which is the minimum age for adult competitions, and had only ever fenced in kid only competitions before.

  24. Happy today: Steamy Lit Con concluded last night and now I am home. BFF and I had a great time and the event was impressive. I was able to meet several admired authors, do a tiny bit of tentative networking, add a new writer to my list of Writers I Like, and generally wallow in all things Romance for two solid days.

    Also happy that, while it is indeed raining, has been for hours, and may be expected to continue raining for quite a while, the power and internet are on and the cat is watching the rain from the dry side of a window. 🙂

      1. Yes, we are all Romance readers and want to vicariously enjoy your experience. We also want to know how a Steamy Lit Con differs from a mainstream Romance convention.

    1. I have no idea how Steamy Lit Con differed from other book conventions because this is the first one I’ve ever been to. Have never even gone to the L.A. Times Festival of Books. They had plentiful well-informed volunteers, managed to get some significant sponsors, had over 100 authors + over 1200 attendees, over 15 panels to choose from (including a live session of Dear Romance Writer podcast), a fun movie night (Red White & Royal Blue), a closing party (too loud for me, plus I was thoroughly peopled out by Saturday p.m.), and generally a ‘thrilled to be here’ vibe. Also the hotel was well-chosen – Anaheim Marriott, it’s a convention center but directly adjacent to Disneyland, which meant lots of dining & activity options for the hours not occupied by the con.

      I met & fangirled Hudson Lin, Anita Kelly, Roan Parrish, Dominic Lim, and new-to-me M.A. (Matt) Wardell, whose book I will mention on Thursday. 🙂

  25. Happy is managing to keep up with everything. I’ve been in a rut for awhile but evry now and then I pull myself a little bit out it.

    Working on my board stuff-minutes for one and ‘walking the terrain’ for the other. That means I steered Pixie around a building during our morning walk. Now I have to read the paperwork and zoning manual.

    I’ve been eating tomato sandwiches. I only put in some tomatoes, peppers (red and yellow, with patience) and some herbs. It’s great to get them right off the vine.

    Pixie’s hunting a fly. That always makes me laugh.

    Counting down to the new book!

  26. I’m picturing a cross-stitch sampler:


    Remember, I used to live in a garage.

    1. I used to live in a one-room apartment above a garage when I was first published. I had to replumb all the lines in order to be able to rent it.

      1. I was fortunate that the ex-son-in-law was neither “ex” nor off his bipolar meds when he set up the garage for a “father-in-law” apartment. It had a full bathroom… including a window into the garage. No kitchen, though.

  27. Yesterday, we came home from our cycling trip along the Isar which was okay, but for the last two days – brutally hot days – the route didn’t even come near the river, so no respite at all.
    The train back had no ac but loads if people piling into too short a train.
    Then back at home, one of our teenagers at home has no inkling at all that dishing out 35+ thousand euros for her year abroad is no mean feat, so we clashed instantly. The heat (no ac) in our flat in the attic certainly helped heat up tempers.
    However, after finding the courage to – for the first time ever – swim in the Isar channel that crosses my favourite natural public swimming pool, I felt happy again.
    A great thanks to the other teenage kid for making me go and talking endlessly 🙂
    He also did all the washing and ironing, despite the heat! Great boy!
    Cooling down thanks to 16 celsius cool water can make me happy. Who knew!?

    1. I am glad you got to swim in the Isar, that sounds amazing.

      Okay I have got to say it, Ouch! because 35,000 euros is more then my annual wage. That said, there are lots of budget friendly ways for a year abroad, especially if you live within Europe, tell her to do her research, save up and get a back pack and a rail pass

      1. Dear Kay, she’s still a pupil, so the cost is for the whole package of finding a school in Canada, the host family, providing contacts during the stay, an orientation program etc.
        The costs vary from organization to organization, but the more choice you get in choosing ghe district or even hhe school, the more expansive it gets.
        And yes, the 35 K is a hefty sum for us, too…

        1. Oh thought she was 18 or 21ish, where I am the kids only tend to take a year abroad after school or after Uni.

          Going to school in another country is an experience, but problematic, the education system there might not count in the country you live in.

          Good luck

  28. I second what Kay’s suggesting. The thing is, she will potentially benefit from some exposure to other people and places if you spend all that money allowing her to, but she won’t necessarily be in a better place to afford such things herself in the future. Whereas if she puts some effort into it herself, it will pay off in other ways when the future arrives.

    Just my thought, though — Dodo is a world traveler herself, so probably knows more than I do. 🙂

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